Guam- The sound of life could finally be heard again within the once closed Inarajan Community Center. The U.S. Navy built the historic building in 1925 and it was used as school before serving as a recreational space. However, the facility was damaged and condemned from the wrath of Super Typhoon Pongsonga…until now.
“I have been waiting for this moment to happen and I am very ecstatic about the whole thing,” said Inarjan Mayor Doris Flores Lujan. “This brings back a lot of memories since I was growing up.”
After more than a decade of being condemned, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held today [Tuesday] for the newly renovated structure.
The extensive renovation project was completed by dck Pacific at a cost of about $800,000. It was funded from Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) bonds as part of a Capital Improvement Program established by Public Law 30-228.
The roofing was demolished and replaced. The structural framing and flooring was also rebuilt. In addition, the contractor installed exterior ramp railings, handrails and built interior walls and wooden doors. Lujan said they also added a new computer learning center as part of the facility.
“We have a computer learning center that will enable our youth to come in here and do their homework or do some search on the internet,” said Lujan. “And by the way, GTA is donating free internet access and hoping and praying that we need about 10 laptops. And hopefully, somebody will step up to the plate and say, ‘Inalahan, here are 10 computers for your youth to use.’”
Mayor Lujan noted gym equipment was also donated to community center by Senator Brant McCreadie. She mentioned the facility will have many uses for island residents.
“We’ll have zumba,” remarked Lujan. “We’ll have village activities such as christenings, weddings, birthday parties, meeting, conferences, cultural dances and we just have to relive Inarajan.”
Inarajan resident Rita Diego said she is proud that the community center is open again and looks forward to seeing how it will be utilized. She also said she still feels connected to the former school.
“I went to school in this place from first grade to seventh grade, recalled Diego. “We roomed there [and] there. We used to compete. The flooring is not the original. It used to be an ifil flooring and we compete during cleaning time, who has the shiniest room.”
Angie Mendiola told PNC she doesn’t live in Inarajan anymore, but once she heard about the ribbon cutting ceremony, she wanted to help out. She said the main reason why she volunteered her time is in memory of all the teachers, students and villagers that made this facility like a home to her and many other students. She remembered going to school there from kindergarten to fourth grade and how the chalkboards, made by parents, acted as partitions to divide the space. She joked that if a student got in trouble, everyone in the class also did as well.
“Here in Inarajan, the whole village takes care of a child,” said Mendiola. “I can be doing something out of the ordinary, one end of the village. Before I come home, my parents already know and the whole village know.”
PNC then asked if she got in trouble often.
“Oh, yes!” commented Mendiola.
She also recalled Inarajan being a sustainable village in the past and wanted to see that happen again with the re-opening of the renovated community center. She believes the almost 90 year old facility is set to be the focal point of Inarajan.
“It’s going to bring the community together and I’m so happy that I had the opportunity to help the mayor for today’s event,” said Mendiola. “It is beautiful. I want to thank the governor and all those responsible in bringing this building to be restored and ready for the community. Thank you. Biba Inalahan!”
Governor Eddie Calvo also kicked off of “My Village Project: Inarajan” and proclaimed the month of November in celebration of the southern village.
READ the release from the Governor’s Office below:
“Inarajan is one of Guam’s most historic villages. Its historic landmarks, unique architecture, and cultural activities provide residents and visitors a window to the journey of the Chamorro people. It is important that we make an effort to preserve these cultural icons in Inarajan and throughout our island, so that the stories of the people of Guam will be told to the children of the next generation.”
Governor Eddie Baza Calvo
Historic Inarajan Community Center Restored
More than a decade after it was condemned from the wrath of Typhoon Pongsona, the Inarajan Community Center has been restored to its former glory. Children, manamko’, families and the island’s visitors will now be able to enjoy the newly renovated facility.
Inarajan’s Community Center highlights what is characteristic about the village—its history. The original building, constructed and designed by the U.S. Navy in 1925, first served as a school. It was eventually taken over by the Inarajan Mayor’s Office and served as a recreational meeting place for the village residents.
Extensive Renovation and Repairs for Community Center
Contracting firm, dck Pacific, handled the $800,000 extensive renovation work that included: demolition and replacement of the roof, rebuilding the structural frame and flooring, installation of exterior ramp railings, and handrails, and building interior walls, partitions and wood doors.
Funded through the H.O.T. Bond Project
The construction of the Inarajan Community Center is part of a Capital Improvement Program established by Public Law 30-228. Proceeds from the Hotel Occupancy Tax (H.O.T) Revenue Limited Obligation Bonds have been earmarked to fund the construction of the Guam and Chamorro Educational Facility in Hagåtña as well as upgrade and refurbish several of our island’s historical sites, tourist attractions and community projects.
November Proclaimed in Celebration of Inarajan
Before the ribbon-cutting, Governor Calvo and Lt. Governor Tenorio proclaimed the month of November in celebration of Inarajan, the next village in the “My Village Project.”
Finding success in Yona, with student talks, tourist-attended fiestas, and door-to-door outreach, the “My Village Project” will celebrate the village of Inarajan this month. Mayor Doris Flores Lujan already has various activities planned for school children, high-school students, the manamko’, and her residents that include emergency life-saving skills training, GCC Adult Education classes, and healthcare outreach to name a few. The highlight of the “My Village Project” will happen toward the end of the month, as GovGuam agencies visit the residents of Inarajan, bringing government services directly to their homes.
This month the Mayor’s Office and the Office of the Governor hope to bolster the pride of the Inarajan community and showcase the cultural and historic landmarks that make Inarajan essential to illustrating the struggle and the journey of the Chamorro people.