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Great day for the green-&-gold

by Michele Catahay

Guam - It's been two years since the JFK High School community has been in its own campus. Since then, it's been a constant struggle to house them until a permanent one is built. But good news comes today, as the Guam Economic Development Authority says International Bridge Corporation has obtained the funding in New York.

It was an exciting day for the Islanders as good news resonated in the hallways that a new campus will be built soon. The Government of Guam and IBC have obtained the financing to build the facility. Principal Ken Chargualaf received the word this morning and announced it on the intercom, saying, "We're really looking forward now. Hopefully next week, we'll have that ground breaking on September 2. So we're very, very excited!"

GEDA administrator Tony Blaz says bonds were sold in New York last night.  The certificates of participation were priced at $65.7 million.  He says approximately 50 investors participated in the offering, which was close to the number of investors secured for the government's investment grade for Section 30 offering sold last year.

Blaz explained, "We wanted to price this with an effort to take advantage of the market conditions and the pricing was really supposed to take place in August 25 or 26, but that was accelerated by the verbal market conditions and so we created the window for opportunity for us to take advantage of this JFK transaction."

The financing obtained to build a new JFK campus leads the way for construction to begin soon. A groundbreaking ceremony is tentatively scheduled for next Thursday.

Senior Monique Camacho's initial reaction to the news was, as she put it, "I was one of the loudest in my class and I was cheering and everything. So I was like, 'Yes!'"

Fellow Neil Romero and Justin Baldavino say it's been a constant struggle for them and the dream of having a campus for the islanders is now coming to fruition.  "It's good to know that our school is going to be rebuilt really soon. We've been waiting on it for a few years now and it's good to know that all the classes after us will have a home," Romero said.   "It's just crazy," Baldavino added.  "We finally made it and we're all pretty happy."

With representatives from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges set to visit JFK in March, teacher Jonathan Palarca says having construction begin is crucial to extend the school's accreditation.  "WASC is visiting us this school year and we will show them it will be an ongoing process rather than a future update on the rebuild of JFK," he told KUAM News.

In the meantime, Chargualaf is hoping for smooth planning in hopes to get students in a permanent campus by next school year.  He concluded, "We're just anticipating to go back and we're really excited. It'll be a massive equipment [sic]. I believe that IBC will give the assurances that they will help us move to the new John F. Kennedy High School."

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