Bill to repair Southern High auditorium advances to voting file

Southern High School (PNC file photo)

Bill 269-35, which proposes to utilize a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) to Repair and
Rehabilitate the Southern High School (SHS) Auditorium was discussed by lawmakers on Monday afternoon, Dec. 21, and was advanced to the voting file.

The legislation, authored by Senator James Moylan, proposes a creative PPP structure, which would authorize private entities to contribute up to $1,000,000 initially, in lieu of tax credits in an equal amount, which would be spread over a 2-year period.

In essence, this “interest-free” loan would then allow the Guam Department of
Education to renovate and rehabilitate the SHS Auditorium. This is a similar program that has resulted in the repairs of the Harmon Industrial Park Roadway, Tiyan Gymnasium, and other public facilities.

The SHS Auditorium is a state-of-the-art facility that has not been usable for years due to a broken air conditioning system, which has forced the management of the school to padlock the facility. This has resulted in a further deterioration of the auditorium.

“The Southern High School Auditorium is a beacon of pride for the southern region of our island, if reopened, it has the potential of perpetuating the arts and our culture, enhancing education, and would allow youth throughout the island to benefit from its many uses. Unfortunately, fiscal woes over the years have resulted in its closure and deterioration,” stated Senator Moylan. “Bill 269-35, provides for the upfront infusion of cash from the business community, in lieu of spreading the impact towards the government’s coffers at no more than $500,000 a year for up to two years, with the initial effect taking place in FY22.”, added Senator Moylan.

Bill 269-35 is co-sponsored by Senator Therese Terlaje and Speaker Tina Muña-Barnes, along with Senators Mary Torres, Louise Muña, Kelly Marsh (Taitano), Joe San Agustin, Wil Castro, Amanda Shelton, Clynt Ridgell, Pedo Terlaje, and Sabina Perez.

Senators return to session on Wednesday, December 23, at 10 am to vote on Bill 269-35, along with a few other measures.