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Saipan Tribune: NMC seeks ‘multiple’ funding sources for new buildings (February 12, 2019)

With many of its buildings in ruins after the destruction of Super Typhoon Yutu in October last year, the Northern Marianas College is on the hunt for funds to rebuild.

Since last week, NMC officials have been in and out of talks with several funding sources as they begin looking for funds to finance new typhoon-resistant buildings, said interim president Frankie Eliptico.

He noted last week that it is still premature to estimate how long the college would be using the temporary classrooms that have been built for it by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Still, this early, the CNMI’s lone community college is in talks with the U.S. Department of Agriculture about tapping it for funds.

“We are pursuing different funding options for the construction of permanent structures,” Eliptico said.

According to him, FEMA was able to provide a total of 24 temporary classrooms for their As Terlaje campus on Saipan—19 in the southern area and five in the northern area.

“The construction of permanent structures is not going to be quick,” Eliptico said, noting that a “quicker” way of getting classes out of the temporary classrooms would to merely put back the roofing that have been blown off the NMC buildings. However, once the next typhoon comes, it would yield the same result—nearly total devastation, he added.

“We are not going to [just replace the tins on the buildings] because [the next typhoon] may destroy it again and we would end up in the same situation,” he said. “We are really taking the time to make sure we do this efficiently, correctly, and right the first time. We would be building typhoon-resistant structures that are modern and state-of-the-art facilities that accommodates not just NMC, but the community’s needs… [in the future].”

According to Eliptico, 22 out of NMC’s 27 buildings on the As Terlaje campus were damaged, while only two of their classrooms were spared by Super Typhoon Yutu.

Eliptico noted that the workforce demands on Saipan would play a major role in the construction of the new NMC buildings. He further noted that internal discussions on whether the college would be used as a shelter are also ongoing.

“Those things take time. …We are not dragging [the process out], but we are expediting as much as we can because it is important that…the construction of new facilities [happen as soon as possible],” he said.

NMC will move from their temporary campus at the Saipan Southern High School to their As Terlaje campus on Feb. 20, 2019. The move would also signify the continuation of its fall 2018 semester morning classes, while their fall 2018 hybrid classes resumed yesterday, Feb. 11.

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