Guam – “Ultimately, it’s about creating a stimulus in the economy,” said Chris Kanazawa, the Hawaii state director for USDA Rural Development, following his tour of the renovated Foundation on the Guam Community College campus Wednesday with Joe Diego, Area Director for the USDA Area II Office in Guam, and GCC president Dr. Mary Okada. USDA loaned GCC $3.5 million for the renovations.
“This project supports President Obama’s initiatives for job creation, sustainability, and education,” Kanazawa said. “Plus, it’s a beautiful building.”
The Foundation Building originally opened in 1991 and housed the College library and classrooms. A new LEED-certified Learning Resource Center replaced the old library in December 2011, and the newly renovated Foundation Building, which is also slated for LEED certification, is scheduled to open this November.
“We used tiles from the old building in the bathrooms in order to lessen the amount of debris that went into the dump, we have photovoltaic panels on the roof, and lighting and other sustainable features that we anticipate will garner us another LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council,” said Okada.
[GCC President Dr. Mary Okada points out features in the newly renovated GCC Foundation Building to Chris Kanazawa, USDA Rural Development Hawaii State Director, and (behind) Joe Diego, Area Director for the USDA Area II Office in Guam. USDA loaned GCC $3.5 million for the $5 million project.]
The two-story, 21,000 square foot building, currently under construction by Orion Construction Corporation, will provide classrooms and testing rooms for Adult Basic Education, Adult Secondary Education, and English as a Second Language courses. The building will also include a rainwater catchment system, recycling area, the College Bookstore and a Café for students.
“Every year, we have several hundred students enrolling in our Adult High School programs,” Okada said. “Giving them a better facility in which to study, earn their diploma, and then helping them move on to postsecondary education is workforce development at its most basic. It is what we are all about: giving people the skills they need to be able to secure better jobs, support their families, and build a better quality of life on our island.”
Okada noted that the nearly $5 million project was funded by several different sources: $3.5 million from USDA, and a total of $1.5 million was leveraged from a combination of funds from the GCC Foundation, the US Department of Energy, and the Department of the Interior. The GCC Foundation provided $1.25 million, the US Department of Energy’s Guam Energy Office provided $248,000 for photovoltaics, and the U.S. Department of Interior provided $331,870 for furniture and equipment.