Gavilan College is putting Measure E funds to work updating the
existing Gilroy campus and expanding into Coyote Valley and San
Gavilan College is putting Measure E funds to work updating the existing Gilroy campus and expanding into Coyote Valley and San Benito County.
The land has been selected in both locations and at Tuesday afternoon’s meeting of Gavilan’s Facilities Development and Utilization Committee, President Steve Kinsella expressed his desire to close the deal on the two properties and settle all the costs.
The plans to create permanent facilities in Coyote Valley and San Benito County will reduce the lengthy commutes for some Gavilan students and provide increased educational opportunities in those communities. The existing programs are currently being housed in leased facilities. About $39 million of the $108 million Measure E funds have been allocated toward these expansion projects, Kinsella said.
Although he was hoping to get some of the new campuses’ facilities in place, Kinsella pointed out that not much Measure E funding will be left over for further development after settling the costs of land acquisition. He hopes to stretch any unused funding as far as possible and will consider the options with the committee after closing the deals.
Kinsella said that Coyote Valley should be settled by May but there is no definite timeline in place for the purchase of the San Benito County land. The committee is still in the earlier phases of due diligence for the latter. However, the San Benito project is moving along more quickly than the Coyote Valley project.
“We are going to get it done as soon as possible,” Trustee Tom Breen said of the Coyote Valley campus. “The development of Coyote Valley has slowed down dramatically and we have to pay attention to that. Those are our consumers.” He added that the plans for the campus will happen eventually as the economy improves and the state has more money. Meanwhile, enrollment is growing at Gavilan and a district growth analysis projects a student population at the main campus in Gilroy of more than 13,000 by 2030. When the bond was passed in 2004, that campus was home to only 5,000 students.
Since tuition prices of state universities have increased in past years, more students are relying on Gavilan for job training and preparation for four-year colleges. With buildings more than 30 years old on its existing campus, the college proposed the bond to make essential repairs and upgrades to meet the needs of today’s students.
The committee also discussed the progress of ongoing campus improvement projects, including upgrades to wheelchair ramps to bring the campus into compliance with ADA regulations and repairs to 30-year-old classrooms.
Currently, a wheelchair-accessible ramp is in place on the Gavilan campus and at the time of its installation, it met ADA standards, but not anymore. The committee is considering several options for ramps about campus but will most likely develop the upgrades when the surrounding buildings are refurbished.
A tentative schedule of completion has been set for various projects. Site improvements including campus lighting, parking and landscaping are scheduled for completion in August and construction is scheduled to begin for the Arts/Humanities/Music Building and the Security/Maintenance Building in August and November, respectively. More than 250 new spaces will be added for parking and improvements to campus lighting and walkways will enhance campus safety and security.
Measure E money funded the lighting changes made to Parking Lot A and the main campus thoroughfare, called Sycamore Lane. After those projects were completed, the contrast between new and old was so severe that the college is using money from the $2 million project contingency fund to install additional lighting in Parking Lot C and another parking lot near the baseball and softball fields.
“Lighting was the key issue,” Kinsella said. “We need to see what we can do to get Parking Lot C lit up. It looked like an incomplete project in comparison to Parking Lot A.”
Although Measure E will fund only the acquisition of the new properties in San Benito and Coyote Valley and not any new development, parts of Gavilan’s Gilroy campus received a facelift due to the bond.
“We’re thankful for what we have and we’re going the best we can with what we have,” Kinsella said.