Health problems continue at Southern High, but GDOE correcting issues
The health problems persist at the Home of the Dolphins in Santa Rita-Sumay. Southern High isn't making the grade, receiving a "D" rating after health officials found mold and other health issues during a recent inspection. Guam Department of Education acting superintendent Franklin Cooper-Nurse is aware of the low rating the high school received.
He assured parents of students, as well as residents, that everything is being done to fix the health issues, saying, "Our team has been down there. The school has been proactive and diligent in addressing some of the deficiencies in the report. A lot of the deficiencies were worked at two levels, at the school level and with the facilities and maintenance teams. So the school is tidying up the school, they are ensuring the routine cleaning of the school."
Other health issues found at the school were mold in ceilings and walls, missing and broken ceiling tiles and dead insects and animals. But how did it come to this point of disrepair and mess?
Cooper-Nurse said, "So we’re looking at aging facilities, we’re looking at limited funding, specifically set aside for deferred maintenance and then we do need to enhance some of our contractual support. Right now, we do have our facilities and maintenance team that’s doing everything possible within their own capacity, but understanding they are a very small and limited team. So we’re actually in discussion with possible outsourcing with some of these bigger projects."
GDOE’s custodial contract averages around $2 million annually. Of that amount, $172,000 goes to Southern High to cover maintenance, cleaning, and supplies for the restrooms. Cooper-Nurse added that they’re currently in the procurement process to find more custodial services.
As for when these issues will be resolved, the acting superintendent told KUAM News, "We are working with our teams to make sure that we address the immediate short-term maintenance needs, but some of the issues identified in the report are some long standing issues. The sloping, drainage issues, the amphitheater, the pool system.
"I believe we do have more than the end of the month in terms of timing to address these, but the goal is to address these."