Guam – The vandalism of Untalan Middle School in Barrigada over the weekend could delay the first day of classes for the Wildcats.
It happened just after midnight Sunday morning. Guam Police received reports that fire alarms were going off at the Untalan Middle School campus in Barrigada. Department of Education Superintended Jon Fernandez explains what he and other officials discovered when they visited the campus at day light.
“I went down there, we walked through the school. You can’t really see anything when you’re looking at the front of the building but once you get into the interior you start to see some of the damage,” he noted.
More than a dozen classroom windows, Fernandez says, were damaged. The fire alarms that neighbors heard going off in the middle of the night were also found smashed by vandals. The Barrigada campus was in its final stages of renovation. Students were temporarily moved to the Coretech building in Tiyan last November.
“It looks like somebody took a hammer of some sort and was just going around and hammering in windows. Now this glass that we put in to the windows are pretty strong, they’re tempered glass, so what you saw in th some of the pictures was the fact that they were leaving holes but they didn’t shatter the entire glass. But it took a lot of force for them to break,” he explains.
The narrow windows on doors were also smashed, says Fernandez. But it appears nothing was stolen.
“We didn’t see any breaks in the fence. It looks like they climbed over the fence and then we also noticed that the equipment left on the campus, because there’s still ongoing work that, nothing was taken. We don’t believe anything was taken from the classrooms as well. It’s very hard to understand what it was. It looks like somebody just came in and got some pleasure out of some of the improvements we’ve been trying to make,” noted Fernandez.
“This is not an affront to the superintendent, or an affront to the department. It’s an affront to our students and their families and I think all of us in the community ought to be offended by this act and particularly the senseless nature of what took place. I hope that the community will step forward, those who may have information, who may hear someone bragging about what they’ve done, and step forward and identify these people so they can be held accountable,” he added.
After meeting with contractors BME & Sons throughout the day, Deputy Superintendent Rob Malay says officials determined the cost to replace the damage is $30,000. Fortunately for DOE, the cost will be incurred by the contractor through their insurance policy. Malay also says that the contractor was able to get in touch with the supplier and they were told the replacement glass is available. Officials will be working extra hard this week to get the school opened by August 18th.