The State Board of Education will push through with original plans to construct the proposed Kagman High School on a 3.9-hectare land reserved for the school project despite clamors to build the campus on a larger piece of property.
BOE Vice Chair Roman Benavente said yesterday the board had to pass on a House Committee on Education offer to relocate the public high school’s construction site to an agricultural land due to an ongoing mitigation project around the proposed area.
“Not only will the construction disrupt the flow of the existing projects being handled by the Dept. of Lands and Natural Resources and the Army Corps of Engineers, but it will also create some setbacks for the contractors,” said Mr. Benavente.
The board official added that with the fast-growing student population on island, the Public School System can not afford to stall the school project any longer.
“The area is not ready for construction. And if we were to wait until everything is ready, that’s a waste of construction time and we could also lose money along the process…and we may come down with an incomplete project,” said he said.
In this light, BOE members have decided to move on with initial plans to build Saipan’s second public high school on a land adjacent to an archaeological site surrounded by homesteads on three sides.
Earlier, Rep. Tom Pangelinan recommended that PSS move the Kagman High School construction to a more spacious lot that would accommodate future expansions.
House leaders believe the current site is on a steep slope which may result in a substantial expenditure of funds for earth works and site stabilization.
They also cited that conducting the project on a leveled site would save more funds for additional classrooms and instructional technology such as computers.
In this light, the Education Committee introduced last month a resolution requesting Gov. Pedro P. Tenorio to re-designate public land 018-G-03, a 27.3-hectare agricultural area assigned to the Department of Public Lands, to PSS for the school project.
But BOE has its heart set on expediting the construction before the end of the year as it also anticipates to get started on two other major Capital Improvement Projects, the Kagman Junior High School and the Koblerville High School.
The construction of a new high school in Kagman is eyed to alleviate overcrowding at Marianas High School which currently houses more than the maximum student capacity set for CNMI’s lone public high school.