Real-life drama at GATE Theater - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Real-life drama at GATE Theater

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by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - Art teacher Anne Gorby said, "We were not successful in being able to comply with what they wanted us to do." It's a showstopper - literally. "Basically, shut it down," she said.

Gorby and fellow art teacher Ray Twenter play the leading role in running the Department of Education's Gifted and Talented Education program in Tiyan, and they admit it hasn't been easy. "We had issues with our roof started leaking a few years ago," he said. "And we had the safety officer come and look at the building and he agreed that we had some issues with the leaks. We have dry wall in the ceiling and a couple of pieces fell and we were worried that if someone was sitting underneath it in a seat that they would be injured. So that sort of initiated it."

According to Twenter, it was in May GFD entered the picture conducting an inspection of the theater, noting, "Over the summer we were clearing out those problems."

Since the school year started GFD has been back twice, but each time according to Gorby they flipped the script. "It seems like every time GFD came to visit us there were a new set of violations after we had worked and tried to spend money on trying to become come into compliance with the previous ones," she said.

Gorby and Twenter say they've spent an estimated $5,000 in non-appropriated funds in the last month alone to install a new fire alarm, purchase new exit signs and emergency lights. "And all of a sudden within the last week this week we find out that we have to have a structural engineer and an electrical engineer. Come in and certify the building. This was never mentioned before this week, and that's something we could have been working on," said Gorby.

Already their production of the mousetrap has been delayed twice because of safety issues taking center stage, but the show must go on. "We had moved the production from here we're fortunate that  Tori Mcveigh and Michele Blas over at UOG theater department, Ann contacted them and they found 3 days for us next week," said Twenter.

Although it may not be the ideal situation, Twenter and Gorby understand the need to fix the facilities, but with these tough financial times no one knows for sure, whether this marks their final curtain call. "We've basically just wiped that out in the last couple of months trying to pay and resolve these," he stated.

Guam Fire Department's Captain Joey Manibusan meanwhile tells KUAM News that GFD did issue a notice of hazard for the theater, adding that the building has been neglected and not kept up to par and cannot resume operations until several of the discrepancies have been corrected. He says GFD's mission is not to give businesses and the public a hard time, but instead they are working for the public to ensure that they're safe and that's its all about life and fire safety.

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