Businessman believes he's got a better plan for Tiyan
by Krystal Paco
Guam - The clock is ticking for GovGuam to pursue its option to purchase the CoreTech buildings in Tiyan.
But with just days until the December 31st deadline, one local developer is offering up a steal of a deal on another means to attain a central high school.
Under the pressure of a tight deadline, developer Alfred Ysrael is concerned GovGuam could make a regrettable purchase pursuing the CoreTech buildings in Tiyan.
"In my opinion this deal to buy used, old 50-year-old buildings for $43 million as a makeshift building for a high school is not correct and is not good for the island," he expressed.
Instead, Ysrael proposes establishing "The Guam Education Foundation Inc." - what would be a local company and an open investment for any Guam resident looking to contribute to Guam's educational future.
"Let the people of Guam, those who want to invest with me, income up and we'll put up the building. And what happens is that the interest and the income earned stays in Guam. It doesn't go abroad by bonds, interest to somebody in New York. It stays in Guam and will pay taxes in Guam," he said.
According to Ysrael, the foundation could build a new central high for cheap, but not without some roadblocks, saying, "The only bad thing is, we need governmental approval for this and they feel they're under the gun; and naturally when you're under the gun, you make bad decisions. In my opinion it's a bad decision to buy 50-year-old buildings for $43 million."
Meanwhile, Governor Eddie Calvo's director of communications Troy Torres says Ysrael's proposition cannot cater to the immediate need to resolve overcrowding at George Washington High School in Mangilao, noting, "If we constructed a new facility it would take a least 18 months to do. Does GW have 18 months? That's a matter for the community to assess."
As we've been reporting, the 2,700 student population is posing safety issues for students and staff alike. By converting the CoreTech buildings in Tiyan to a central high school, the GW school population could be cut in half.
This is in addition to the immediate need to finalize the Guahan Academy Charter School lease agreement also covered in the CoreTech purchase.
As for savings, Torres says GovGuam doesn't need to shop around. After all, the savings speak for themselves when compared to prior school purchases, including John F. Kennedy High School, Okkodo High School and the Okkodo expansion, and Southern High School.
"If you do the purchase of the entire Tiyan property, you're looking at 330,000 square feet of school and office space. The JFK facility I believe is 180,000 square feet of school and office space. Per square foot, Tiyan is far cheaper. It's almost 50% cheaper than JFK," he said.
The Tiyan pricetag originally was $43 million, but with the addition of the charter school buildings, buildings for DOE Central Offices, some warehouses and a mezzanine, the pricetag goes up to $90 million. A cost torres says, taxpayers wouldn't feel on their wallets.
"The taxpayers aren't paying a dime. No check is being written during the term of the lease back of the purchase. The payment form is tax credits that CoreTech will be able to use or assigned and this is something that was authorized by the legislature in law," he said.
But Torres isn't shooting down Ysrael's proposition entirely.
According to Torres, the Guam Economic Development Authority and the Department of Education are underway constructing a memorandum of understanding that would allow GEDA to undertake DOE's Capital Improvement Master Plan. From there, Ysrael can help thre construction of new schools and the renovation of existing schools.
Ysrael's plan to build a central high school and means to fund it will be released tomorrow.