Skip main navigation


Committee of the Whole
San Benito County Office of Education Board Room

Thursday, February 23, 2006 -- NOTES
  Call Meeting to Order:

The meeting was called to order at 6:00 p.m.
Student Trustee Sandow led the pledge of allegiance.

  Trustees Present: Tom Breen, Kent Child, Elvira Robinson, Laura Perry, Jesse Sandow
  Trustees Absent: Mark Dover, Deb Smith, Leonard Washington
  Others present: Steve Kinsella, President, Joe Keeler, Vice President of Administrative Services, Mark Levine, Tony Ruiz, Ruth Erickson, Jim Goodell, Joe Keeler, Kurt Michielssen, Tony Sudol, Jan Chargin, Tim Foley, Kent Pearce, Joe Morris, Julie Morris, Karen Breen, Nenette Corotto, Jim Goodell, Christine Breen, Dean Judd, Mike Smith, Gary Byrne, Richard Place, Richard Morris

1) Comments from the Public:

Ruth Erickson suggested that meeting notices be published in the Hollister paper bulletin board 2-3 weeks in advance; ask for multiple postings.

2) Discussion of Gavilan College Service Area:

Steve Kinsella, President, Gavilan College, provided information on the Gavilan College service area and provided the history of the Measure E Bond. Hand outs included information on: Gavilan College Land Acquisition FAQ (frequently asked questions), Measure E, Exhibit B Full Text Ballot Proposition, Project List, Free-Flow Breakdown, and Participation Rates & Future Enrollments (2003-2030 Gavilan College District Growth Analysis Report). From the project list $40 million was identified for land acquisition and the College has been looking at several properties over the last 18 months. Articles have been published in the newspapers regarding the land acquisition. Due diligence is in process to see if the selected site, by the airport, is suitable for a college campus.

Jim Goodell, Public Private Ventures, reported on the process used to acquire land and noted that 15 years ago there were 101 community colleges in the State and now there are 109. Several properties were discussed and visited.

Criteria to meet for establishing a community college:

  • Acreage, minimum of 80 "buildable" acres
  • 1/3 core campus facility (25 acres), fields and recreational facilities (25 acres) and parking (30 acres)
  • neighborhood compatibility

The airport site met the criteria.

The price of the land allows us to stay within a constrained budget and to keep money in the classrooms. The acquisition of the airport property is going through a rigorous application process. A number of contingencies need to be removed before closing escrow. The College may need to continue looking at other properties.

3) Measure E Bond Projects:
  • Gilroy Renovation
    $65 million dollars was approved by voters to renovate the main campus.
  • Coyote Valley Land Acquisition
    Trustee Perry reviewed the history of Measure E. Steve noted that a full campus can accommodate 10,000 students
  • San Benito County Land Acquisition
    1,500 FTES (full time equivalent students) are coming from Hollister
4) Discussion of Location of Possible Properties:

Connie, community member, requested that the college consider the Hart property (50 acres), county land (east toward Fairview) near Airline, 99 acres (Pritchert land)

Tony Ruiz, retired faculty member at Gavilan College, community member: concern about location and particularly the flight path, wants to support college satellite here, but not necessarily a full campus, bypass includes properties not listed at the time of study, a concern for economic stability, would be end of the airport if college is put there, would like to present new ideas to the College

Christine Breen, community member: concerned with accommodating growth, preserving unique character of county, Gavilan plan defeats the general plan, asked the Board to continue deliberation and alternatives presented

Dean Judd, community member: is a tenant at airport, concerned about noise from planes on students, inconsistent with land use of county, college ignored San Benito County community members in the decision, aviation community will fight the process

Kent Pearce, community member, pilot, airport advisory commission, realtor: happy Gavilan was considering expansion of a major campus site, noise factor incompatible with learning environment, concerned about access, opposed to any sort of access to campus off of highway 156, better alternatives to land sites with more than 80 acres in same price range

Ruth Erickson, arts and cultural center, library looking to partner with college, but not by airport, airport in traffic pattern zone, schools hospitals and nursing homes should be discouraged unless there are no other alternatives, some land owners are willing to sell land for about same price, no entry from highway, community was not involved before this, if meeting had been at city hall it could have been televised, suggested that this be done next time

Joe Morris, community member: would like a meeting with more dialogue, acknowledged that articles have been published in newspapers, the FAA may have some serious reservations about the process, community excluded from this process, thanked the college for support of Vision San Benito, but airport site was never brought up in meetings, Vision San Benito laid out future that did not include sprawl, concerned about transportation to get to the campus, envisioned working together with cultural arts and library

Tim Foley, Superintendent, San Benito County Office of Education: has been involved with Vision San Benito, does not think that this was the correct forum to select a college campus site

Mike Smith, San Benito County Planning Commissioner: supports building community in downtown area, need to work with groups like Vision San Benito, wants vibrant community college in downtown area, need to come back to the table and involve community representatives and those who will be attending the college, provide opportunity to evaluate again

Gary Byrne: asked for comments from board members: Trustee Breen, President, stated that the input from tonight has been helpful, the college needs to abide by the decision of the airport land acquisition, look at options and then determine how it will proceed. Trustee Perry, the board makes every effort to know communities, apologized for not having this kind of meeting earlier, partnership is important, if a better site were to come up it would be considered

Steve stated that the college is able to consider looking at other properties and would seek advice from counsel.

Trustee Robinson thanked everyone for coming to the meeting asked community members to continue to provide input.

Steve stated that the purchase and sale contract was on the board agenda and several articles were published prior to action by the Board. The college has been consistent with the information that was presented to voters. A Citizens' Oversight Committee was established to inform the public, review expenditures and provide an annual report to the community. The process for real estate negotiations is provided under the Brown Act in order to negotiate the best deal and public notice was provided in local newspapers and posting of board agendas in Hollister, Morgan Hill, and Gilroy and the college's web site.

A request was made about the cost of consultant fees. This will be made available to the public.

Richard Morris: San Benito County needs the college and the airport, should go back to drawing board.

Trustee Child stated that the Board believes in being good stewards of the resources from the communities served by the college, acknowledged the time taken by community members to provide input, asked if anyone who knows of property available please contact the Board or the college President.

Trustee Breen reported that the entire board will discuss the options and legal issues and determine the next step.

Gary Byrne thanked Board and indicated that he has met with Steve Kinsella, who has been very open to suggestions, suggested contacting leaders in the community who could not attend tonight's meeting and continue the dialogue.

5) Adjourned. The meeting ended at 8:00 p.m.

Please help keep Gavilan College a litter-free campus and preserve its park-like setting. Thank you.

Last modified: May 18, 2006
Gavilan College 5055 Santa Teresa Boulevard Gilroy, CA 95020 (408) 848-4800