Demolition of condemned NMC buildings now at 50%

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Posted on Nov 02 2020

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File photo shows the demolition of condemned buildings at the Northern Marianas College campus in As Terlaje. (Neil Fama)

The demolition of 14 buildings damaged by Super Typhoon Yutu at the As Terlaje campus of the Northern Marianas College continues, according to the ITS Corp. project manager Danny Vatalla.

The demolition started last Sept. 24, and the construction company has until Jan. 11, 2021, to fully knock down all the buildings and to take away the debris. ITS is contracted to only demolish the buildings.

The buildings that are already knocked down are buildings A to I. Vatalla stated that most of the buildings are interconnected to each other so it made demolishing the buildings easier for the company. Right now, the company is separating the debris, so they can transfer it in the proper landfill area.

According to the project description, the construction company is set to demolish buildings A, A1, B, B1 C, D, E, F, G, H, I, Q, R, and S.

Vatalla said they are ahead of schedule and that they’re doing their best with hopes to finish the demolition ahead of time.

In previous interviews, interim NMC president Frankie Eliptico said the demolition of the buildings is primarily for safety purposes but will also make way for new buildings to be built. The proposed new buildings will include design and construction elements that will allow them to withstand natural disasters like Super Typhoon Yutu.

“They will have a resilient design and will incorporate technological elements to reflect some lessons we’ve learned from typhoons and the current pandemic,” he said. Eliptico stated that this is to ensure a more seamless transition in case another natural disaster or pandemic forces NMC students to return to remote learning.

“Tthe next time we have a pandemic or a typhoon, our classes will be held from a remote site or from other places. There will be a seamless transition [from in-person to online classes],” he said.

Eliptico added that the current COVID-19 pandemic is an opportunity to come up with better designs. “It’s not a great thing that this pandemic happened, but it’s giving us an opportunity to apply the lessons we have learned in the design of the new buildings,” he added.

NMC has secured construction funds from federal sources, including funds from the U.S. Department of Education, and is continuing to pursue other funding opportunities.

Justine Nauta
Justine Nauta is Saipan Tribune's community and health reporter and has covered a wide range of news beats, including the Northern Marianas College and Commonwealth Health Care Corp. She's currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation and Human Services at NMC.

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