Double whammy for Oleai Sports Complex


The fence at the entrance of the Oleai Sports Complex is damaged after Super Typhoon Yutu slammed Saipan last month. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Battered, not once, but twice, the Oleai Sports Complex may have to go a reassessment before repair work starts.

Tony Rogolifoi, executive director of Northern Marianas Sports Association, which oversees the management and operation of the complex, saw the facility for the first time last Friday or a little over a week after Saipan was struck by Super Typhoon Yutu.

“It was disastrous. The damage was big, both inside and outside,” said Rogolifoi, who was off-island when the Category 5 typhoon hit the island. “For now our main focus is to clear the area of the debris.”

The NMSA official added that he needs to check with the CNMI public assistance office, under the Office of the Governor, to find out how the process of seeking help for the repair will work.

The Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium was supposed to undergo repair (with the funding coming from the Federal Emergency Management Agency) after Saipan was hit by Typhoon Soudelor in 2015. Assessment on the damage was made, bidding was done, and contructor was chosen, while some paper work was just being finalized when Yutu came.

“We haven’t started with the repair of the damage caused by Soudelor and then now it’s Yutu. It’s a double whammy,” Rogolifoi said.

A portion of the already leaking roof at the Ada Gym was blown away, glass windows were shattered, and the fence around the complex and at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios and Miguel “Tan Ge” Pangelinan ballfields were destroyed. The administrative office was spared a bit from Yutu’s havoc, as only some glass windows broke.

“Now that we have additional damage we don’t know how will that affect the funding approved from the earlier FEMA assistance. They may do another assessment or we may apply for a new request for the recent damage. We have to find the best way possible and it will take a while for activities to resume here,” the CNMI Sports Hall of Famer added.

“We have a long work ahead of us,” Rogolifoi said.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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