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Guam museum endures multiple setbacks

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While the construction of the Guam and Chamorro Educational Facility continues to take shape, it's also had its share of setbacks and has experienced numerous delays. "Basically, she stressed - there's poor planning involved," noted GEDA administrator John Rios, referring to the recent weekly address by Speaker Judi Won Pat outlining several issues with the construction of Guam's first permanent museum.

He added, "A number of things occurred throughout the course of the Facility's construction that hampered it. This results in the project ultimately exhausting its $1.1 million set aside for change orders."

Rios says for a project of this size, it's not that bad considering the $27 million budget, adding, "So if you're looking at a million-dollar change order, you're only looking at about 4.5% in change orders, which is pretty low compared to like if somebody is doing a hotel or stuff they would put about a 10-15% contingency amount." Rios says the change orders include strengthening the building by reinforcing and adding more piles.

Won Pat meanwhile says it was the location that was also a problem, explaining, "Early in the Museum's conception, we were warned about the old swampland in the now-decided Hagatna location. However, we idealized the Museum in historic Hagatna despite the fact. We are now paying for this decision, literally."

In order to accommodate poor soil bearings, a deep foundational piling system had to be constructed. She says the Guam Legislature is "racing to find additional funding for the museum and meet the promise to be functioning in time for the Festival of the Pacific Arts". Rios added, "There could always be better planning but with a site like the museum site, it's close to the water, it's not until you start doing other tests that you'll find that a change order is needed."

Won Pat meanwhile says the goal is to make a "proper preservation and cultural education institution that our children will be inspired by," adding, "If there is a lesson to be learned from the building of the Guam and Chamorro Educational Facility, it's that we should've been more knowledgeable throughout its conception and construction."

Construction is set to be completed by December 29.

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