Water damage knocks power out at Dededo middle school - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Water damage knocks power out at Dededo middle school

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 by Krystal Paco

Guam - Following Tropical Storm Halong on Wednesday, Department of Education officials assessed school campuses for damages.

Although most schools came out unharmed, what they found at one northern campus could push back the first day of classes for 1,200 Dededo students.

It's not unusual for the power to go out during heavy winds and rains, but for Vicente Benavente Middle School, it'll take more than Guam Power Authority crews to restore their electricity.

"What we learned is that due to some water damage, it affected the electrical panels and actually shorted the wires connecting the school to its power source and started an electrical fire," according to DOE superintendent Jon Fernandez.

He says the fire knocked out power to half the Dededo campus. This is a major concern as the start of classes for public schools is scheduled for August 18 - just two weeks away.

"The worst case scenario is that if we're not able to repair it, we would have to delay the start of school at Benavente Middle School. We wouldn't put any kids in the classrooms. There's no power at all to half the school. That's the front part of the school. 0928 so there's a lot of classrooms without air conditioning. Without lights. it's not a situation where we could have the population in there," he said.

But he's hoping to avert any delays to the school year. Earlier today, officials met to discuss the issue as well as request that Governor Eddie Calvo step in to declare an emergency and exercise emergency procurement to repair the $50,000 to $70,000 in estimated damages.

"Right now they're developing the scope of work and seeing what's available on island what happens in the Emergency procurement is that we're going to have to get three quotes and see what's available in order to get the supplies and materials available for the fixes to be made. Without that authority, it's going to take at least 30-days to get the invitation for bid out and get responses and competition on that side," he said.

If the repairs aren't made in time for the first day of classes, Fernandez says double session may be an option.

"We know we have about 1,600 feet of wire that needs to be replaced. We've got to clean out and repair the electrical panels. And we'll work with our vendors at GPA to ensure we're connected and ready to go," he said.

Guam Fire Department spokesperson Lt. Ed Artero confirms that GFD responded to the Dededo school on Thursday.

Although it was reported as a fire, Artero clarifies there was no extinguishment needed and that it was an electrical panel shortage.

He adds that DOE will need to have an engineer test and certify the panel box and wiring.
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