EDA awards NMC $13.2M grant for new CREES building

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Posted on Feb 15 2021

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The Northern Marianas College has been awarded a $13.2-million grant by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration to develop the colleges’ Cooperative Research, Extension, and Education Services program further and its role in supporting regional economic development.

The grant is expected to create 272 new jobs and generate $13.4 million in private investments for the college.

According to NMC interim president Frankie M. Eliptico, this grant will provide great relief in assisting the college recover from the unprecedented devastation of Super Typhoon Yutu. “In particular, the grant will allow the college to build a permanent home for NMC-CREES and the important work that CREES does for the community and for the economy,” said Eliptico. “We are deeply grateful to the EDA and the individuals at the agency who assisted and guided us in the grant application process.”

Eliptico praised the NMC team that helped put together the grant proposal and the numerous partners who assisted and offered their support, including Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan’s advocacy for the project.

Interim CREES dean Patricia Coleman said each member of NMC-CREES had a role in authoring this grant proposal. “Thank you to each one of our advisory council members, the many businesses, non-profits, and agencies who wrote letters of support, Bill Torres at NMC, and especially Eliptico for the support and great leadership,” said Coleman.

This project will fund construction of a facility for use as a research, extension, and development center at NMC to replace and augment existing college facilities, 87% of which were either destroyed or suffered major damage from Yutu. The new facility will house instructional space for the college’s nursing program, a new simulation lab for the NMC Business Department, and other resources to develop the Commonwealth’s capacity to develop industries that contribute to economic growth. The new facility will also feature classrooms and a multi-purpose stage with stadium seating.

In a press release from NMC, Torres thanked EDA for assisting NMC’s future projects. “This grant funds will help NMC-CREES expand food security and stimulate increased local agriculture production, local economic activity, and build opportunities to develop youth through entrepreneurship and leadership building programs,” said Torres.

An EDA statement quotes Sablan: “It has been 14 months since Northern Marinas College applied for this typhoon recovery funding and it will be a great relief to college students and staff to know that help is finally on the way. I want to thank the Biden administration for taking prompt action to help the Marianas build back better.”

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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