The gymnasium of the Northern Marianas College has yet to be repaired since its roof was blown off by Typhoon Soudelor in August 2015.
According to a statement by NMC officials, NMC has already engaged the services of Taniguchi Ruth Makio Architects for the renovation of the NMC gym.
NMC president Dr. Carmen Fernandez told Saipan Tribune that, along with the repair of classrooms so as to continue classes as soon as possible, the gym’s repair remains one of her top priorities.
The repair was delayed due to issues such as the remoteness of Saipan, which affects the abundance of materials.
“The renovation and repair of the NMC gym is one of my key priorities ever since becoming NMC president four months ago,” said Fernandez.
“Our plan is to expand the gym so that we can accommodate more activities like our graduation and large-scale community events. Our students should look forward to a completed facility within a year,” she added.
Fernandez said NMC was able to prioritize the repair of classrooms, the bookstore, and the cafeteria using funds provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the CNMI government.
According to NMC, the estimated cost to repair the gym is about $4.6 million.
Fernandez is also looking to add various amenities to the campus that comply with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED.
LEED is an eco-friendly building certification that recognizes exceptional building strategies and practices.
Typhoon Soudelor ripped about half of the gym’s roof, damaging even the equipment stored inside.
Although the gym was heavily damaged, Fernandez confirmed that physical education classes are still offered for the 2017 spring semester.
Some students of NMC find it inconvenient that the gym has yet to be repaired. One student claims the weather affects his classes as they engage in team sports, an occurrence that could otherwise be prevented if they were in a gym.
“We have to put up a net every class period outside and cancel if it rains,” said a student.
The college sustained substantial damage from Typhoon Soudelor last August 2015. The storm brought winds of up to 200 mph and tore through the campus, ripping roofs off, destroying electrical equipment, flooding classrooms, and uprooting trees.
Soudelor damaged 19 of 25 buildings and left several of them unusable, causing whole departments to relocate to off-campus facilities. The typhoon even pushed NMC to postpone the whole semester—a first in its history.