BOE: GES also up for relocation

Hopwood campus to double as typhoon shelter

The Board of Education yesterday convening in their office on Capitol Hill. (Erwin Encinares)

The Board of Education yesterday said it plans to relocate the Garapan Elementary School and to similarly set up the Admiral Herbert G. Hopwood Middle School Campus in such a way that both double as temporary typhoon shelters.

In an interview yesterday, BOE chair Janice Tenorio noted that plans for the relocation of GES and the new Hopwood campus included discussions with the Governor’s Office to construct classrooms in a way that allows it to withstand typhoons.

“We look forward to work with the governor and the Legislative branch to relocating…and rebuilding Hopwood,” she said. Tenorio noted that they plan to move the middle school along with GES to a less busy area of Saipan.

“…Relocating the schools to enhance [them] into a modern facilities for our students is our main goal. That is one of the reason why we want to move it—to have a more secure and modern school and moving it away from…[businesses],” she said, referring to the busy streets of Garapan and the exiting area immediately at Hopwood.

Tenorio recognized that the Hopwood campus had sustained extensive damage due to Super Typhoon Yutu in late October 2018.

“[We want to] harden the facilities and the infrastructures of the PSS,” she said. “We will work with the governor and the Legislature to harden the structure and the facility,” she said.

“These are good, healthy discussions for our future. Not only that, this is good timing because we are rebuilding,” she continued.

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 Education Commissioner Glenn Muña noted that they would soon be moving to a new campus near the Koblerville Elementary School once the 42 temporary classrooms are completed.

Muña previously reported to the BOE that subcontractors for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are working 24 hours a day 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 on Jan. 8, 2019.

“I am looking forward to collaborating with everybody, my colleagues in the board, the commissioner, the legislative branch, and the private sector,” said Tenorio yesterday, who was elected yesterday as chair for the 16th BOE unanimously.

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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