A new site for Hopwood?

PSS eyes relocation to temporary campus in February

Subcontractors for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers work 24/7 to complete 42 temporary classrooms for the new temporary campus of the Admiral Herbert G. Hopwood Middle School near the Koblerville Elementary School. (Erwin Encinares)

At the moment, the Public School System is still on the fence whether to relocate the Admiral Herbert G. Hopwood Middle School to a new site or not but that is a move that is being considered—among other options.

Education Commissioner Glenn Muña confirmed Tuesday that PSS is looking at the possibility of relocating the school but has not made any decision yet on the subject since the system’s priority is to focus on campuses that sustained “lesser damage.”

Super Typhoon Yutu tore through the CNMI in late October 2018, causing extensive damage to all of Hopwood’s buildings in Afetna, nearly wiping out the school.

In the first place, Federal Emergency Management Agency inspections must first be completed before PSS can “determine what the next steps are,” Muña said.

“…We need to first complete FEMA assessments at Hopwood,” he added.

He wouldn’t give a definitive answer, though, whether the campus would relocate or not.

As of Tuesday morning, FEMA has yet to inspect the Hopwood campus, Muña noted.

“We are prioritizing [campuses] that sustained lesser damage,” he said.

Hopwood principal Dr. Rizalina Liwag told Saipan Tribune in a previous interview that all of its 10 buildings on campus sustained “major damage,” affecting about 70 rooms in all.

Right now, Hopwood is holding classes in the morning at the Marianas High School campus, but Muña noted that they would soon be moving to a new campus near the Koblerville Elementary School once the 42 temporary classrooms are being built.

According to Muña, subcontractors for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are working 24 hours to complete the temporary structures before February.

“We are expecting to move the students of Hopwood to their new temporary campus…in the first or second week of February [2019],” he told the Board of Education’s Fiscal, Personnel, and Administrative Committee during a meeting Tuesday morning.

He further reported that Liwag has already made the orders for the collateral equipment required and these are expected to arrive next month.

This file photo shows the Admiral Herbert G. Hopwood Middle School immediately after Super Typhoon Yutu in late October 2018. (Erwin Encinares)

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.
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