PSS: Hopwood’s temporary campus now ready

The 42 temporary classrooms for the Herbert G. Hopwood Middle School is nearing completion, even as the Federal Emergency Management Agency addresses the nooks and crannies of the temporary campus in Koblerville.

Education Commissioner Glenn Muña reported yesterday to the Board of Education that the temporary Hopwood campus, which is right next to the Koblerville Elementary School, is now ready.

“All 42 [temporary classroom structures are completed],” said Muña. “Right now, we are working with our service providers to lay the cables for the network as well as the electricals.”

He said the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. has already been paid for sewage, water, and power lines to support the temporary campus. All that remains, Muña noted, is for CUC to hook them up.

The target start date of Feb. 19, 2019, according to Muña, has yet to be confirmed as they wait for the go-signal from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“But with my last conversation with them last week, they said they would be turning over the units to us by this Friday…We are just waiting to have a meeting with them,” he told the board.

In a previous statement, Muña said full-day classes would resume immediately for both Hopwood and Marianas High School. As of publication, middle school classes are still being held at the MHS campus in the morning while the high school gets the campus for the rest of the day.

BOE chair Janice Tenorio commended Muña for prioritizing an alternative campus for Hopwood. The original Hopwood campus was completely destroyed by Super Typhoon Yutu in late October 2018.

According to Tenorio, prioritizing the alternative campus for Hopwood and MHS is in line with the BOE and the Public School System’s goal to avoid delaying graduations and promotions.

“Right now, our goal [is] to build the FEMA structures. That was our priority…so that [Hopwood and Marianas High School] could go back to full-time classes to avoid amending the graduation calendar date and summer for the lost instructional time,” she said.

“[Muña’s] team plus the FEMA and the executive branch are working hard [for our next step],” Tenorio said.

While noting that it is premature to discuss it, Tenorio assured that plans are in store for the new Hopwood campus. However, the specifics such as funding and the technicalities of the new campus have yet to be sorted out. By the time the students relocate to their new campus, talks would most probably have advanced.

“Our goal right now is to have those…tents up and working in full gear with all the infrastructures so all our students can be comfortable [during class],” she said.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.
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