The Northern Marianas College will soon move to demolishing the many buildings that Super Typhoon Yutu severely damaged in 2018, to make way for a brand new campus the college is building in As Terlaje.
According to NMC interim president Frankie Eliptico, NMC is working to complete the demolition of damaged building by the end of this summer. The demolition is expected to take place while summer classes are online so there will be minimal impact on students and employees.
Eliptico said he hopes the demolition will be completed before the fall semester begins in August.
Currently, the college is working on securing the necessary permits from regulatory agencies, including the Historic Preservation Office.
As for the new facilities NMC plans to build, Eliptico said the design focuses on increased capacity to withstand natural disasters like Super Typhoon Yutu. “They will have a resilient design and will incorporate technological elements to reflect some of the lessons we’ve learned from typhoons and the current pandemic,” he said.
Eliptico said that this is to ensure a seamless transition in case another natural disaster or pandemic forces NMC students to return to remote learning. “So the next time we have a pandemic or a typhoon, our classes will be held from a remote site or from other places. There will be a seamless transition [from in-person to online classes],” he said.
Eliptico added that the current COVID-19 pandemic is an opportunity to come up with better designs. “It’s not a great thing that this pandemic happened, but it’s giving us an opportunity to apply the lessons we have learned in the design of the new buildings,” he added.
NMC has secured construction funds from federal sources, such as $21.9 million from the U.S. Department of Education, and is continuing to pursue other funding opportunities.