PSS at risk of losing $24M FEMA award

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Posted on Jun 03 2020

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The Board of Education has raised concerns regarding the possibility of the Public School System losing the $24-million grant they were awarded by the Federal Emergency Management agency over a month ago to rebuild the Hopwood Middle School campus.

This is so because it has been a month and PSS have yet to complete the FEMA requirements like submitting a project design. That, in turn, is because there has been no exact location that’s been agreed upon yet upon where the new campus will be built, according to Education Commissioner Dr. Alfred Ada. He said they are in the process of putting out a request-for-proposal for an architecture and engineering firm that would come up with the design.

If a plan is not submitted within the next six months, PSS could possibly lose the $24-million grant award, said Board of Education vice chair Herman Atalig. “There’s a process here that really needs to be forwarded to FEMA for their final approval. There’s still a question about insurance, to get it insured, the question of whether or not we have enough money to do the cost share, because there’s a little cost share to this project. Sometime next week, we will sit down with the Facilities and Development Management and figure out what we’re going to do. If we don’t submit a plan within the next six months, we might lose that entire $24 million,” he said.

BOE member Marylou Ada said that PSS has to get the project going because PSS cannot lose $24 million and the opportunity to rebuild the Hopwood campus. As much as possible, the construction process of rebuilding Hopwood Middle School must begin by September, she added.

Ada said the main issues with the Hopwood campus are restrooms, lights and fixtures, and all the damage to the buildings, stage, concrete rooms, libraries, counselor’s rooms, and more.

The Hopwood facilities that are currently available and already renovated are the cafeteria, bus shelter, 19 classrooms, and two girl’s and boy’s restrooms with 10 stall each. The renovation project began in May 15 and should be completed by June 15.

PSS will have students return to the old campus once schools reopen in September.

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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