DPW works on long-term parking for CHCC

Posted on Jun 11 2020

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The Department of Public Works broke ground last May 1 on a parking lot that is being built for the Commonwealth Health Center, to replace the upper parking space that is now occupied by the temporary hospital, the Medical Care and Treatment Site.

Mike Borja, director of the Division of Roads and Grounds under DPW, said that Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force reached out to DPW to create the new parking lot and expand CHC’s parking space. The new parking lot will fit a total of 136 cars (80 reserved for accessible parking).

According to Borja, a total of 6,000 square feet of space adjacent to the hospital was cleared; it is unclear how many trees had to be cut down to make the space available. Additionally, there is no target date on when the parking lot will be finished. Once the paving is done, DPW will add lighting and the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. will be inspecting it.

Borja stated that they are now on the final stage of the paving process, which includes compacting and leveling the ground. Borja said that compacting is an important part of the process since it will determine the quality of the parking lot.

Since there’s no way to tell when the MCATS will no longer be needed, Borja said that DPW recommended making the parking lot permanent. “Our recommendation is to have it paved and fence it for the sole purpose of parking for [the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., which runs CHC],” said Borja. It will be up to CHCC if they want to put a security guard to watch over the parking lot, he added.

Borja said that DPW will also be coming up with a plan to reallocate or adjust the flow of traffic in the new lot. The area is known as a “traffic-prone area.” This means that the flow of traffic gets really busy, especially since it is adjacent to the Grace Christian Academy, a community center, and other government buildings.

DPW had to go through the Historic Preservation Office under the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs, the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality, and the Division of Fish and Wildlife in order to start the project and get a permit that will allow them to convert what was once a jungle area into a parking lot.

Besides Borja, the project is also under the purview of Joey Castro, branch manager of Roads and Grounds under DPW; James Reyes, designer and technical services division under DPW; and Gani Salazar, engineer under DPW’s technical service division. They all work under DPW Secretary James Ada.

“I would like to ask the community to respect that area because at the bottom, there is an old Japanese well,” said Borja.

He stated that since there are approximately 600 employees at CHCC, and with the population growing, it will be beneficial for CHCC to keep the parking lot there.

COVID-19 in Guam

The Department of Public Health and Social Services tested 171 individuals for COVID-19 last June 9 with conclusive results. Zero tested positive and 171 tested negative.

According to the Joint Information Center in Guam, results include 84 samples from COVID-19 drive-thru testing held at the DPHSS Southern Regional Community Health Center in Inarajan.

To date, Guam has a total of 180 confirmed cases with five deaths, 163 released from isolation, and 12 active cases.

Justine Nauta | Correspondent
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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