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Guam Congress Building being renovated

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It's where the infamous Guam Congress walk-out of 1949 occurred, ultimately changing Guam's civil and political status. And while it hasn't been used for more than two decades, by this time next year, the people of Guam will have a chance to visit the newly restored and rehabilitated Historic Guam Congress Building.

The Guam Chamorro and Educational Facility isn't the only project under construction in Hagatna - so is the Guam Congress Building a few feet away. "We're excited about just the whole project moving on and we've been waiting for a long time for this, and finally it's upon and on time and in a year's time we will see a brand new rehabilitated restored Guam Congress Building," explained chief program officer Joe Quinata. He says the Guam Preservation Trust recently issued a notice to proceed for the restoration to begin with BME & Sons given a notice to award for the entire project. Quinata says the project will consist of two phases: the overburden fill and then the actual construction.

"We will be working on the original footprint of the building and we're going to actually restore two wings of the building and we'll be expanding one more wing so we can be able to accommodate the central office of the Guam Legislature," he stated.

Quinata notes that the building will not be demolished as it is listed in the Guam and National Register of Historic Places. And while the project has been in the works for years, Quinata says it hasn't been an entirely easy process, adding, "We need to take time to get it to be in the right - right perspective, right period that we're going to be able to rehabilitate or restore the structure whatever structure it is. The main challenge we have here is funding and of course in any project funding is going to be challenged."

Quinata says the project had to go through two bids with the lowest respective bid coming in at around $7 million. He says some components were taken out of the main bid but were instead made additives to the project. "But since it fell within our budget amounts, that we can be able to award, we are looking at the same plan that we started out with, we are also looking at being able the first platinum LEED project on Guam," he said.

And with the new Guam Museum going up soon, Quinata says it will be a perfect fit. He shared, "We believe that the two buildings actually complement each other where you have the Guam Museum, which is a new building and new construction but it will refer everyone to the different sites that actually tells the story much in-depth about the history of Guam and the Legislature is a great part of that."

And while construction takes place, the trust will be placing a photo display on the wooden boards to educate the public on the history of the Guam Congress. The project is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2016.

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