Company sizes-up Southern High - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Company sizes-up Southern High

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by Michele Catahay

Guam - With millions of dollars set aside to fix Southern High, an architectural and engineering firm made a recent visit to the Santa Rita campus to assess the damage. Sodexo made assessments at Southern High School over a month ago and now, the A&E firm Coeval will be working to create specifications to put out for bid on projects.

Coeval visited the school's fine arts theater Monday, but Southern High principal James Petitte says the group needed diagrams and schematics before getting down to the nitty-gritty. "They are going to go back to the people who did the original architectural design and engineering plans and request those plans from them. For some strange reason we don't seem to have them," he said.

Southern High is at the top of the list when it comes to projects included in the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act grants. Over the years, the once state of the art auditorium has suffered extensive damage due to natural disasters, mold and termite infestation, but doe never had the funding to fix it. "That was the first time the architectural and engineering firm had come out," Pettitte continued.

"Sodexo was here four days straight to have their own assessments and I had a debriefing with them a while back and one of their team members was here with them, the engineering group."

On the priority list also includes the school gymnasium, the soccer and football fields and the Olympic-size swimming pool. "These kids have been cheated by not having full access to their facility. This is a wonderful facility. Unfortunately it's only used about 70 percent. The rest has to get fixed," he added.

The Department of Education has until September of this year to obligate millions of dollars for capital improvement projects and technology. With a delay in the review process from the Attorney General's Office, principals like Petitte are hoping the island will meet deadlines set forth by the feds.

"I think all of us are worried about it and it was articulated by USDOE and the superintendent, which is why to me, with certain things, there's always a sense of urgency. With this issue there's always a sense of urgency. The urgency needs to be direct toward these kids and what they need and with that will come support that we need to have a and e firms do what they need to do," he said.

Last week, Sodexo presented its recommendations to the Guam Education Board on priorities for capital improvement projects in the island's public schools.

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