Guam – Governor Felix Camacho and Assistant Secretary of the Interior Tony Babauta helped to cut the ribbon and open the new Learning Resource Center at the Guam Community College in Mangilao this morning, but Dr. Mary Okada, GCC president, noted that it was those who designed, constructed and prepared the building that should receive the most credit.
“Most important are the human resources that creatively put this all together: the architects, the laborers, and the employees of GCC that have worked tirelessly to get ready for this moment. They are the shining stars today. They are the dedicated ones that carry the load and that make this college successful in its endeavors,” Dr. Okada said.
[Photo Caption: LRC Ribbon-cutting team:L to r: Speaker Judi Won Pat; Gina Ramos, GCC Board of Trustees chair; Lorraine Okada, GCC Foundation board chair; Dr. Mary Okada, GCC president; Gov. Felix Camacho; Asst. Secretary Tony Babauta; Christine Matson, GCC Library Dept. chair; Juanita Sgambelluri, library technician supervisor (partially hidden); Paling April Cruz, student trustee; Mike Makio, vice president, TRMA; and Sho Asanuma, deputy general manager, Asanuma Corp.]
Okada noted that the LRC, the first LEED-certified building for the government of Guam, was built because the College planned for it. “Once we had the plan, we wrote a grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions, or AANAPISI, to support that vision. Through ARRA, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, we received money from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for additional construction costs. To provide alternate sources of energy, the Guam Department of Energy office provided support for the photovoltaic systems, digital temperature controls and building management systems. With help from Assistant Secretary Babauta, we purchased furniture made of recyclable materials,” she said.
Babauta noted that GCC’s role in educating Guam’s workforce is increasingly important, and joked about the rivalry between GCC and the University of Guam, acknowledging the presence of his former boss, former congressman and current UOG president Dr. Robert Underwood. “It’s good to have that kind of competition,” Babauta said.
Designed by Taniguchi Ruth Makio Associates as part of the GCC 2005 Physical Master Plan, the two-story, 22,000 square foot LRC contains LEED features such as digital temperature controls and air quality monitors, energy efficient lighting and windows, and furniture made of recyclable materials. The LRC will provide GCC students with a reading area/collection section, computer work areas, a computer lab, group meeting rooms, audio-visual rooms, staff areas, and a large group meeting room.
“The learning and the research that our students conduct inside these walls will benefit all of us in the form of a stronger workforce, and that’s the best Christmas present we could wish for,” Okada said.
The contractor for the $5.2 million project is Asanuma Corporation. Asanuma is also constructing GCC’s new ARRA-funded Student Center adjacent to the LRC. The total cost of construction for the LRC was $4.3 million, while furniture and equipment costs were approximately $900,000. The building was funded through grants from the U.S. Departments of Education, Interior, Energy, and Agriculture; and the GCC Foundation Board of Governors, which provided the money for the architectural and engineering design of the building.
The Learning Resource Center is the second new building to open on GCC’s campus in less than one year. On December 21, 2009, the college opened its Anthony A. Leon Guerrero Allied Health Center, which houses the College’s pre- and practical nursing and medical assisting programs, and science and computer lab facilities. The Student Center is scheduled for completion in Fall 2011.