The San Benito High School campus has been a buzz of activity this summer, between the six weeks of Summer School on main campus and the flurry of construction of facilities and the county bypass road on the south side. This summer’s focus was on the physical education and athletics facilities (aquatics center, track and field/football stadium/softball field/classroom renovations for special education students as well as ADA compliance items on the main campus. Speed tables, or speed humps, have been added on West and B streets on the eastern and northern sides of campus as traffic calming measures, and two more will be added in front of the school on Monterey Street prior to school starting. The installation of solar panels in the Baler Alley parking lot has progressed rapidly, along with the HVAC work in the main administration building and library. The new gates that will prevent vehicular traffic from passing through the campus on Nash Road from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays have been installed. Those gates, designed to allow the safe passage of students and staff from one side of campus to the other, won’t be utilized until the county’s two-lane bypass west and south of campus is complete and opened, likely in mid-October, according to the County of San Benito.
Nash Road Closure
Crews last week installed metal gates across Nash Road between Monterey and West streets. They will eventually be closed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays to prevent vehicular traffic from bisecting campus. The opening of the county bypass road will connect Nash with San Benito Street south of campus. Adam Goldstone, capital project manager for the County of San Benito, which is constructing the bypass, said the two-lane road will have a three-way stop where it intersects with Nash near campus, and a single stop sign on the bypass where it meets San Benito. The road will be designed as a 25 mph school zone and have a detached, 10-foot-wide Class 1 bike lane running the length of it, allowing for bicycle and foot traffic. The bypass project has been done in conjunction with the Sunnyslope County Water District and the City of Hollister’s water pipeline project, which will run underneath the roadway. As soon as that work is done and the road is paved and ready for vehicles in the Fall, the Nash Road closure through campus will commence. The gates will feature an Opticon system to allow the Hollister Fire Department to remotely open the gates if needed for emergency access.
Physical Education and Athletics Projects
With demolition of the old Andy Hardin Stadium complete, crews have been digging and leveling the ground where the new aquatics center, stadium, varsity softball field and physical education facilities will be constructed on the southeast side of campus. The aquatics center will feature an eight-lane shallow learn-to-swim pool and a competition deep water pool that will be 50 meters long and 25 meters wide. The aquatics center will include locker rooms and bleacher seating for physical education and competitions. Construction Supervisor Rob Zimmerman said the new stadium and track and field will feature seating for 3,000 on the home side and 750 on the visitor side, up from 1,200 and 300 in the old stadium. The turf in the stadium and softball field will have the same cork infill used on the new multi-purpose field. The district is targeting an aggressive timeline to complete all of these projects with the aquatics center completed by end of April 2019. The district is looking forward to hosting home events and games in the new the stadium in the Fall of 2019.
Energy Conservation Program
Funded by district funds, a clean renewable energy bond and a grant allocation from Proposition 39 funds, the district’s energy conservation program, coordinated by Climatec, has addressed unfunded facility construction needs in coordination with the voter-approved Measure U bond. The effort has added air conditioning to the school library, auditorium and the administration building, LED lighting upgrades, occupancy sensors and dimming controls around campus, Wi-Fi based HVAC control systems and high-efficiency air conditioning systems. The solar project in the north parking lot will benefit the entire district by saving the district an estimated $13.6 million over the lifecycle of the panels, which also provide shade and weather protection to vehicles in that lot and will have lighting underneath them. The project will reduce the district’s annual electric consumption by nearly 1.5 million kWh.
O’Donnell Gym Spruced Up
In addition to the construction activity, O’Donnell Gym (the old gym) received a sprucing up, including doors with windows, a new coat of paint, re-waxed floors, repaired bleachers, new carpet lining on the walls, and repainting and clean-up of the old wrestling room on the gym’s south side.
‘We’re Doing What We Told Voters We’d Do’
SBHS District Director of Finance and Operations Roseanne Lascano thanked the Citizens’ Oversight Committee for “making sure we’re doing what we told voters we’d do” with the bond money that locals supported through Measures G and U. The said bids are going out for equipment to be used at the new stadium and aquatics center as the district continues its “really aggressive timetable” for construction.