Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang is happy with the plan of the Saipan Higher Education Financial Assistance to move this April to the Ladera Center, where the Saipan Mayor’s Office is also located.
“It is a good decision because you don’t want last-minute planning and it would be a better collaboration between SHEFA’s staff and board and our staff as well,” Apatang said.
He requested SHEFA board members to start planning their move after attending one of the board’s meetings in January.
On Feb. 26, SHEFA board members agreed to move to the Ladera Center before the Northern Marianas Housing Corp. releases the property they currently occupy to a possible investor.
In a separate interview, SHEFA administrator Merissa S. Rasa said that they are already in the planning stages of moving.
“We are looking at starting the process around April when it is not as busy here at SHEFA. This has been our office since 2004 and we were fortunate enough to be rent-free all these years with only an annual insurance fee of $300 to NMHC.
SHEFA will now have to meet with the Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation to request for additional funding. SHEFA is usually appropriated some $3 million, of which only about a $100,000 is used for operational and administrative costs.
Rasa said they were given six months at the most to complete their move.
“We are set [at the] unit to the right of the Saipan Mayor’s Office. We are also hopeful SNILD will provide us additional funding now that we will have to pay for an office space,” she said.
She noted that they will possibly meet with SNILD this week.
Upon SHEFA’s relocation, Apatang said he will help the scholarship office in every way possible.
“But for now we are focusing first on the community projects that are ongoing and if SHEFA requests assistance, then we will do so,” he said.