Mount Carmel School reopened its gymnasium last Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019, about 11 months after being destroyed by Super Typhoon Yutu.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony began with a prayer and blessing led by the bishop of the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa, Rev. Ryan Jimenez. Students from grades K4 through 12 then lined up along the gym and cut the ceremonial ribbon with the MCS Leadership Team, members of the MCS board, and Jimenez.
Restoring the gym was significant to the MCS family because the gymnasium served as a major center for campus life. Until the storm, the gym served as the center for athletics, the school cafeteria, and the performing arts venue for annual events. Members of the community also used the gym as a facility for sports and outdoor activities.
Throughout the reconstruction of the gym, the school’s leadership sought the help of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to determine the school’s options for mitigation. After following the appropriate process and procedures, Mount Carmel School was able to fund temporary fixes until such time the necessary funds to fully restore the structure could be issued.
Historically, the gym has housed significant moments in CNMI history including the negotiations and signing of both the CNMI Constitution and Covenant. For these reasons, the Mount Carmel School gymnasium was deemed a historic landmark by the CNMI Historic Preservation Office. No changes have been made to the design and structure of the gym to respect the historic nature of the facility.
“We are so happy to finally have our gym back,” said MCS Student Council president Kalea Borja. “The gym is the center of student life at Mount Carmel School and we are excited to host sports events, student activities, and performances throughout the year.”
“The gym was one of our biggest projects from Super Typhoon Yutu, and it still is,” said MCS president Dr. Galvin Deleon Guerrero. “Although the gym is now available for use, there’s more to come for our students but, more importantly, for our local community.”
To learn more about Mount Carmel School, visit www.mountcarmelsaipan.com or call 234-6184 to schedule a tour of the campus. (PR)