DYS gets over $300K for Kagman center’s expansion

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The Division of Youth Services plans to further expand the Kagman Community Center to accommodate three times the number of students it already does.

According to Division of Youth Services administrator Vivian Sablan, the center has been open to students in the Kagman area since December 2016 but has only been able to accommodate a maximum of 50 students.

Sablan said the Division of Youth Services has been applying for a grant through the Northern Marianas Housing Corp.’s Community Development Block Grant program to fund the center’s expansion.

Finally, after two years of applying for the grant, the division was able to secure over $300,000 for this fiscal year.

Sablan is already excited about the upcoming developments at the center. The money—exactly $323,081—will not only fund renovations to the facilities, but also for its expansion.

With the expansion, Sablan said the center will be able to accommodate three times the number of students that they already accommodate.

The grant will also fund more classrooms for the center, additional bathrooms, and shower rooms.

Sablan said the expansion will serve two purposes: ensuring a place for students and the youth of Kagman where they can get active and a place where they can do their schoolwork— basically a means for the youth to stay out of trouble.

If a disaster hits the island, the center, which also does double duty as an evacuation center, will be able to accommodate more people, Sablan said.

Because the division is under the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs, the center is also used as a homeless shelter. In the aftermath of Typhoon Soudelor, it was found out that the center’s current space was not enough. With the expansion, it ensures that there will be a spacious shelter for Kagman individuals to run to.

According to Sablan, the scope of work is due no later than Dec. 1. Once that is finalized, the renovations and expansion will begin in early 2018.

In related news, the Tinian Community Center will also be renovated and expanded. According to Sablan, when the application for a grant to expand the Kagman Community Center was submitted, the division also sent applications for both Tinian and Rota centers.

The division was approved a grant of $43,509.80 for the Tinian center’s expansion and renovation through the CDBG program.

Unfortunately, the application for the Rota center did not succeed but, according to Sablan, she will continue to try and apply.

Kimberly B. Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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