Simon Sanchez High School students are rejoicing after they found out that their Yigo campus will not be shut down like it was two years ago. However, the Department of Education still has more work to do.
Guam – Simon Sanchez High School has issues, but they weren’t enough to cause a regulatory shutdown.
GDOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez says, “For the most part, Director Gillan stated that there were not sufficient demerits for a closure although we do recognize that there are some parts of the school and certain issues that need to be addressed.”
It all started with a student complaint that the Yigo campus was filthy and unsafe. After looking at pictures of a very unkempt and clogged restroom stall, railing that looks as if it’s about to fall off, evidence of rodent in storage areas, and ceiling tiles that need replacement, The Department of Public Health and Social Services decided to conduct an inspection of the school. As for the report today, it turns out that most of the issues are easily fixable.
Fernandez says, “It wasn’t a surprise to me. We saw in those photos, I think the biggest one that received a lot of feedback was the condition of the restrooms. A sigh of relief for me is that from 2013 to where we are today, we haven’t seen any recurrence of those major issues that we invested in trying to fix. We did see a few demerits but many of those we could address almost immediately, they were more minor in nature. The more significant pieces dealing with cleaning and rodents, we’re working with our outsourced vendors to make sure they meet the terms of their contract and work together to find a better solution.”
Fernandez says back in 2013, he made the decision to shut down Sanchez because of countless leaks that would flood the hallway, no air-conditioning in various classrooms, and other structural issues. He says thankfully, the problems they’re seeing today does not compare to those two years ago. Fernandez explains that November 6 is when bids for the $100-million Request for Proposal to renovate or build a new Sanchez and fix up the other schools are due from the vendors. Until then, however, he says the department along with their partners would have to work together to maintain the existing facility.
He says, “My expectation though is that given the timeframe it’ll probably take to construct the facility for the students, we’re going to have to maintain that existing facility in the near term so that means we need a better scope and timing of the project and then we can determine how to take the limited resources we have and dedicate that to Sanchez’s critical issues.”
Fernandez sends a message to the Sanchez community. He explains, “What I want to tell the students, teachers, administrators and families of Sanchez is that we want to do our best to maintain the facility. We’re looking forward to the renovated or newly built Simon Sanchez High School. We’re hoping DPW by early November complete the RFP process and receive those bids so we can start discussing how the school will look like for the future of those students.”