NMTI to convert Kobler Gym into classrooms

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The Northern Marianas Technical Institute is working on converting the Koblerville Gymnasium into classrooms for “soft trades” like math, English, computers, and more.

In an interview, NMTI chief executive officer Agnes McPhetres said the institute is waiting on funding from the Community Development Block Grant program under the U.S. Housing and Urban Development’s typhoon relief program to renovate the Koblerville Gym and turn it into classrooms.

“CDBG included us in the funding of $2 million to renovate the gym in Kobler so it will no longer be a gym, but it will become classrooms. We haven’t really looked at what kind of design we would like to do yet,” she said.

McPhetres said the $2 million will allow NMTI to renovate the entire gym and they plan to use the new facility as soft trade classrooms for required classes.

McPhetres said it is necessary to relocate the NMTI classrooms because the current classrooms in Lower Base suffered greatly back in 2018.

“Although the building was not broken, it really affected our facility here so relocation is warranted. Secondly, this place is a swampy place and we don’t have enough parking area in the front, this is not fit for an educational institution,” she said.

McPhetres did not disclose when NMTI would receive the grant but she said once NMTI receives funding, they would issue RFPs.

The $2 million from the CDBG program is a separate grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s grant of $10 million that NMTI expects to receive around February or March.

The EDA grant would go to the construction of a new NMTI campus that will also be located in Koblerville.

Kimberly Bautista | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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