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Ground broken on new cultural center

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by Michele Catahay

Guam - It's been several years in the making, but a new cultural center in Tumon will soon be up and running for the benefit of the community and visitors alike. A ceremony was held today along Ypao Point to break ground for the Sagan Kotturan Chamorru. Anne Marie Arceo from the Hurao, Inc. says this is a momentous occasion because for years, they've pushed for a center and it's finally coming to fruition.  

She told KUAM News, "We're finally seeing the beginning of something really, really wonderful for our children and the people of Guam; something that we can call our own on this nine-acre property from the Chamorro Land Trust." Through the help of many corporate sponsors, she says students can now learn more about the Chamorro culture at a more permanent place. Restoration work is expected to be completed by May.

"We put in a lot to this since day one and we stuck it out an today's a very sweet day for us to finally see something a dream unfold into reality," Arceo added.

Chugach World Services architect Barbara Burkhardt added of the project, "A master plan was created for the nine-acre property, which includes eight existing structures. The company is providing construction management services to schedule, estimate and schedule materials required for the restoration of buildings. The project has been broken down into four phases.

"Part one is to bring the Hurao Summer Program up here," continued Burkhardt. "We'll have two classroom building available for their use, and then the Hurao Academy will be located at that time. We anticipate completing this by May 1, 2011. We have another group - GPA, GTA, GWA and Helix Electric - who is going to provide power water and sewer up to the buildings."

In the meantime, University of Guam president and cultural advocate Dr. Robert Underwood says the future looks bright with the creation of this new cultural center.  "This is great," he proudly noted. "The Hurao Academy just don't talk about it they live it. They need to be supported and I'm looking forward to this cultural center, so that it can be a beacon of hope in a very for the past few years a very dispiriting situation for the future health of the Chamorro language and culture."

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