Officials tour Tiyan facility - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Officials tour Tiyan facility

by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - It has been discussed at length and as the government moves closer to making a definitive decision on its plans for the CoreTech facility in Tiyan. And the Administration, DOE and several stakeholders today walked through the campus to determine if conditions are suitable for more than a thousand of the island's schoolchildren.

It was just as John F. Kennedy High School had left it during the summer minus a few desks, chairs and close to 2,000 students, but officials and several regulatory agencies did a walk through of the Tiyan campus today to determine its existing conditions. Although concerns range from the intercoms, the cafeteria and covering between walkways, governor's chief education advisor Vince Leon Guerrero believes these concerns are not insurmountable.

He told KUAM News, "I think they can all be addressed, working with the contractor, working within the existing lease agreement, which allows for collateral equipment to be ordered, we believe that those can be addressed."

No final decisions have been made, but the Calvo Administration has pledged to first and foremost use the CoreTech facility for educational purposes before exploring any other option. Leon Guerrero says that financing and having both parties come to a mutual agreement on the lease were the biggest challenges with finalizing a possible move. "The lease payments are through the tax credits, so it doesn't impact the budget necessarily through an appropriation, it does impact because every time you take a credit, it reduces the amount of revenue that's available," he explained.

"Nobody can find the funds for an outright purchase, that's for sure. So we have to be very creative to find ways, if that's our goal."

While she welcomes renovations to the 53-year-old Barrigada campus, Untalan Middle School assistant principal Valerie Kaipat says the biggest challenge with the Tiyan facility is ensuring the safety of more than 1,100 students with only five school aides. "So those are definitely some of the thoughts that are wondering in our minds is just the safety first of the kids, because it's a new territory for them. And they're used to this confined courtyard and now we have open areas with building," she said.

While requests have been made for ten more school aides and temporary move to Tiyan would allow for renovations to Untalan Middle, officials are also considering DOE's dire need for another high school. Interim superintendent Taling Taitano said, "I think certainly we are concerned about Untalan and the state of Untalan, and long-term we believe that we need another high school. And we think that's the most pressing need and certainly we'd like to address the concerns of our Untalan school community."

Leon Guerrero says if the decision is made to move Untalan to Tiyan, the preference is to do it sooner than waiting for summer break. The Administration will make a formal announcement tomorrow.

Although purchasing the facility appeared to be out of the question earlier, Adelup is now considering making a long-term investment and making the Tiyan facility a permanent government building with a possible lease-to-purchase option.

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