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October 3, 2023

SBHS provides FAQ on Nash Road work

Courtesy of San Benito High School:

San Benito High School District offers the following FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) to address the ongoing and future work on Nash Road where it bisects campus between Monterey and West streets.

We have seen a lot of construction activity on Nash Road, between West Street and Monterey Road. What’s going on?

A lot of construction activity has been going on this past summer around the San Benito High School campus. In addition to numerous exciting improvements on campus, improvements and changes are being made to the way traffic circulates around the campus during the school day.

For decades, our high school has been divided in two parts, separated by Nash Road between West Street and Monterey Road. Students are often required to cross a very busy Nash Road several times per day to get to their classes and athletic practices. The separation of the campus creates safety concerns and has never been ideal for campus and student cohesiveness.

Approximately two years ago, the San Benito High School District came together with the County of San Benito and the City of Hollister in the spirit of cooperation to devise an arrangement whereby traffic could be diverted around the school, rather than through the school, during the school day. After a lot of conversations, compromise, and open-public discussions, as well as meetings by all entities, the County Board of Supervisors, the Hollister City Council, and the San Benito High School Board of Trustees approved a plan to make this vision a reality.

How will the closure work and when will it begin?

A new road is being constructed by the County, with County and District funds, to re-route vehicular traffic south of the campus from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday year round. Once the bypass road opens, Nash Road will be closed to vehicular traffic between West Street and Monterey Road from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. During the times that the road is closed to traffic, vehicles traveling east on Nash Road will have access onto the new road, south of the campus to San Benito Street. Vehicles traveling West on Nash Road will be able to utilize surface streets around the high school campus.

The District has funded and installed gates, traffic signals and measures to facilitate the road closure each day. Traffic signs will be put in place in both directions to notify drivers that the road ahead is closed.

Right now we estimate that the Nash Road closure will begin on or about mid-October 2018, once the bypass road is fully operational. Large gates will close the road to through traffic at 7 a.m. each day, creating a safe pedestrian zone for the 3,000 students and 300 staff members on campus. The gates will be re-opened at 7 p.m. each evening during the week, allowing traffic to flow through Nash Road as usual.

How long will the road closure be in effect?

The partnership agreement calls for the daily closure to be in effect for 99 years. However, all three agencies have agreed to consider a permanent closure of this portion of Nash Road after a pilot program of several years. It is our goal and vision that a permanent closure will occur within the next few years, allowing San Benito High School to become one contiguous campus in perpetuity. When the road closure becomes permanent, the District plans to create a walking path for students and staff similar to what was done at San Jose State University, which used to be bisected by a road.

How will this project benefit the public?

Student safety has been the school district’s paramount concern, and this concern was shared by all three agencies.

However, it was important to all the parties that our interagency agreement create positive outcomes for the entire community. As part of our interagency partnership agreement with the City and the County, the District will be leasing a 47-acre piece of land south of the campus to the County for development of the approximately 30-acre River Parkway and Regional Park project. The new bypass road will provide public access to the future park. Other amenities, including additional parking, are part of the County’s plans for park development. We anticipate that as park amenities are developed over time, residents will have access to additional sports and recreational opportunities adjacent to the campus.

Reaching agreement with our agency partners took a lot of work and compromise, and we are pleased to have been able to develop a plan that worked for all. Both the County Board of Supervisors and the Hollister City Council have supported this project and are to be commended for their commitment to public education and student safety.

We have many more projects going on, and will be sharing information with you as the school year commences.