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New central high school in the works

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by Krystal Paco

Guam - A new central high school is in the works and the Department of Education superintendent says he's eyeing the CoreTech facility in Tiyan. "Right now based on everything I've seen based in terms of the data and the needs of our school system I would like to see a central campus built on the Tiyan campus," said Department of Education superintendent Jon Fernandez.

This is good news for George Washington High School, a campus that's struggled with overcrowding for over a decade. "I think a central high school there would really help us address the final population issues we're seeing. Okkodo expansion is going to help us with the north now we have GW left with 2,700 students at the beginning of every school year. If we could reduce that amount and a central high school could probably fit about 1,500 to 1,900 students we could bring that GW population down, and then really think about the future of both schools," he said.

As we've been reporting, GovGuam's existing lease gives the option to purchase the Tiyan site, which currently serves as an interim campus for the Untalan Middle School Wildcats. Earlier this year, the Governor's Office requested DOE's plans for the facility, as public law gives them first dibs. "And I've made that clear to the Governor's Office and to our board in preliminary discussions we'll probably sit down in work session to really hash out what that would mean," said Fernandez.

And plans to relieve overcrowding in the central villages could capitalize on the newly renovated classrooms at the Mangilao campus. "I think if we could do that we could actually turn to GW and expand the STEM program and look at other opportunities to leverage the proximity to GCC and UOG, so I think there will be a lot of exciting things to do if we can move forward with the Tiyan campus," the superintendent.

In the meantime, double-session may provide temporary relief to GW's overcrowding until Tiyan is purchased but those discussions will continue with incoming GW principal Jim Reyes. Fernandez adds adjacent office space in Tiyan could house DOE Central in the event their current building is torn down to move forward with the Hagatna Restoration Plan. 

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