The Northern Marianas Technical Institute has yet to obtain any assistance to restore its damaged facilities more than two months after Typhoon Soudelor ravaged Saipan.
“The problem is that we are a non-profit organization so we are not eligible for Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance and since we are not making enough money, we are not eligible for [a] U.S. Small Business Administration [loan],” NMTI chief executive officer Agnes McPhetres said.
NMTI twice tried to obtain assistance from the two agencies.
“We are not eligible for the two. As for what will happen next, I am not sure yet because we are trying to meet with the governor but it is kind of difficult to get an appointment [him],” she said.
McPhetres said the damage incurred by the school has not been calculated yet but her estimate is that it will total more than $1 million.
“The biggest damage is that we lost one of the buildings. There are two buildings that are together at NMTI. One of them is down and that contains the auto mechanics classrooms, offices, and the workshop for the construction trade,” she said.
“We are trying to make it as affordable as possible by using our students in the construction trades to practice what they learn so that we can rebuild more affordably,” she said.
With the construction workshop down, McPhetres said it hinders the new course that NMTI introduced in June this year. The new course will provide the skills necessary for a graduate to be a maintenance person or a handyman.
“We are trying get help from the governor to try and help us to see what he can do as a type of assistance and maybe he has a way of getting assistance. As for SBA, we don’t have enough money to pay back [the loan] because the damage is a lot,” she said.