VIDEO: DOE Planning for New School Opening, Central Office Move in Tiyan

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Guam – Now that the contract to purchase the CoreTech facility in Tiyan has been signed., the Department of Education is making preparations to open a new high school and move the DOE central offices.

Among the priorities to make that happen, is to figure out the attendance area for the new school.

“So I met this morning with our high school principals and my Deputy Superintendent to look at some proposals for shifting some of the attendance areas to really balance out the enrollment at our schools,” Superintendent Jon Fernandez told PNC. “And particularly in the north… to make sure that each school will have the capacity to grow.”

A leadership team for the new high school will also need to be picked soon, so they can begin working through the logistics of opening a new school in Tiyan once Untalan Middle School moves into its newly renovated Barrigada campus. One of the issues that leadership team will have to deal with is the lack of existing athletic facilities.

“I know that the Governor held off on the authorizing the construction of a new gym which was the key thing that we know that our high school communities they always clamor for,” Fernandez said. “So we expect the Legislature to engage with us and we’ll talk about opportunities for allowing that gym to happen .”

The DOE central offices will be moving from their current facility in Hagatna to buildings next to the campus in Tiyan. That move, Fernandez says isn’t likely to begin until April.

“We’re gonna have to get to an approval of the final design of the interior of the buildings we’ll be occupying based on our needs between personnel and equipment,” explained Fernandez. “There will be a time frame for CoreTech to do some improvements to the facilities to accommodate that design and then there will be a need to order collateral equipment and give it some time to come in.”

Collateral equipment is also something DOE will need to consider for the new high school as the equipment currently used by UMS will follow the students and staff to their Barrigada campus. Fernandez says he’s still working to understand exactly whats in the contract to find out if equipment will need to be procured for the new school, which is expected to open next fall.

“Its a compressed time frame,” Fernandez admitted. “We’re waiting for Untalan Middle School renovations to complete and that’s expected in July, a move of the existing middle school to their renovated campus, refurbishing of the space inside the high school ,getting a new high school open, and the central offices moved somewhere in the middle there. So you can see our planning efforts are gonna have to be really well focused and organized.”

The Tiyan campus is expected to accommodate between 1,600 and 1,800 students. About 1,100 UMS students are currently attending the campus.