MORGAN HILL—Gavilan College broke ground Friday on a major expansion that will bring thousands of students to a new campus in San Jose’s Coyote Valley and focus heavily on law enforcement and public safety training classes.
State Sen. Bill Monning and Morgan Hill Mayor Steve Tate helped cut the ribbon on the 55-acre parcel purchased for $18 million.
Phase One of the project, to be completed within the coming year, is the construction of five modular buildings and a parking lot. This phase has an estimated cost of $21 million, of which about half will come from Measure E funds. The college has contracted Gilbane Building Company for the first phase. The new campus’s location, on Bailey Avenue in Coyote Valley, is convenient for students commuting from Morgan Hill or South San Jose.
The expansion will provide a public safety training facility for individuals studying to become police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and 911 dispatchers.
“Ten percent of Gavilan’s enrollment is public safety,” college spokeswoman Jan Bernstein-Chargin said. “Enrollment is about 5,600 right now.”
The South Bay Regional Training Public Safety Consortium has been headquartered at Evergreen Community College since its founding in 1994. It’s composed of 10 colleges spanning from San Mateo County to Monterey County, partnering with regional law enforcement agencies to train students. Gavilan’s new campus is the latest instance of pulling together resources between colleges.
Gavilan plans to have classes scheduled for fall 2016, with general education classes, selected based on student demand, held in the evening for students who work during the day. The Gavilan board anticipates that a future increase in enrollment at the campus—projected to be as high as 10,000 in 30 years—may prompt the Coyote Valley campus to become its own college.
Gavilan president Steve Kinsella said he had been unsure whether he would be able to see the Coyote Valley campus begin within his lifetime. Kinsella, retires in June after 13 years as college president.
The land Gavilan purchased in San Benito County will be also be used for expansion of the college. That project is currently in habitat-mitigation, a phase of expansion that also delayed the Coyote Valley campus.
Gavilan currently has campuses in Morgan Hill and Hollister, both of which serve about 300 students. Like the Coyote Valley campus, the future San Benito County campus may eventually become its own college.