Envisioning and bringing to life a Tiyan Sports Facility will benefit not just a single school, it may also create “a unity” of educational facilities which is part of the Guam Department of Education’s overall policy for Tiyan.
GDOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez said there is an “incredible opportunity” for synergy with the GDOE headquarters already existing in Tiyan as well as Tiya High School and the two charter schools in the Tiyan area.
But Fernandez says that Tiyan high school is not complete yet as it is still in need of the appropriate sporting facilities.
“In addition to the gym that was already constructed in 2015, we are talking about a track … we are talking about football and soccer fields, the lighting that goes along with that, bleachers and possibly a baseball and softball fields,” Fernandez said.
During a public hearing, Fernandez shared with legislators an outline of GDOE’s plans site and the opportunities possible for the land adjacent to the school.
“I basically told them that we are asking the governor’s office as well as the legislature to see if they can help us forward this discussion with the right agencies and with the right partners to see if we can make this happen,” Fernandez said.
One of those agencies GDOE is hoping will assist is the Guam Economic Development Authority which can start discussions with private landowners and adjacent property owners to see what options are available.
GEDA can also develop cost estimates which could be brought before the legislature.
Fernandez says the Tiyan Titans have been waiting for four years for sports facilities and they are growing impatient.
“So I sent a letter to the governor in late May along with a petition of 800 stakeholders from Tiyan high school and said they are still asking and want to know if there is a solution ahead and at least get that conversation started,” Fernandez said.
Getting the project started, however, will depend on securing resources and whether or not there is land available
“Part of that discussion is looking and seeing if the government might be interested in acquiring some of the properties adjacent to the school that would make sense. And I don’ t know what the cost would be on that front. But once the land is identified and available it would probably cost about $1.2 million. That ballpark figure is a general estimate to build from scratch and would be in addition to the costs to acquire the land,” Fernandez said.
He added that there are also concerns that still need to be addressed.
“My concern is that around the sites there are a lot of industrial zoning uses and my thinking is what happens when you put an industrial warehouse in the middle of an educational facility? Is that appropriate? ill it raise safety concerns other issues?” Fernandez said.
And then there are the concerns raised by senators.
“Obviously they are concerned about costs and other issues associated with the costs. And I said, look, we are just trying to get the discussion started. I don’t think we are the right ones to lead it from the standpoint of costs because we don’t have economic or financing expertise. But we know what we need and we can bring that to the table. However, we do need the help of GEDA and other partners,” Fernandez said.
He added that planning now may help GDOE get ahead of the game.