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New law to pave the way for long-delayed Guam school project

Updated: Jul 6, 2023

By Pacific Island Times News Staff

Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero has signed into law a bill that would simplify the procurement process for building a new school campus in Yigo, a project that has been delayed for a decade due to contractual issues and litigations.

“The enactment of Bill 94-37, which amends the Ma Kahat Act of 2013, is a critical step toward finally building the new Simon Sanchez High School,” the governor said in her message.

The proposed design of the school was previously procured and completed.

Bill 94-37, now Public Law 37-22, focuses on solicitation for financing, construction and all the related services for the new Simon Sanchez High School within 90 days of the bill signing.

Introduced by Sen. Roy Quinata, Public Law 37-22 authorizes the Guam Department of Education and the Department of Public Works to enter into a leaseback agreement to build a new facility that will replace the old campus.

“Based on my discussions with GDOE and DPW, I am confident that we have the capacity to proceed without further delay,” Leon Guerrero said.

The new law clarifies the respective responsibilities of government agencies and resolves lingering concerns regarding the applicable procurement structure.

"To minimize the cost to the government of Guam, financing utilized by the

contractor to fund the construction and FF&Eservices for the new school will be through tax-exempt obligations, provided that such financing is available at an interest rate of no more than 8.5 percent," the new law states.

The contractor may use an alternative method to fund the $166.36 million project.

“In the 10 years that have passed since the original Ma Kahat Act was enacted, the law has undergone several amendments intended to shift procurement responsibility between relevant agencies to accomplish specific operational or financing goals,” the governor said.

"Bill 94-37 takes into account the concerns of all agency stakeholders, and restores responsibility for the procurement of the new school to GDOE, whose efforts will be bolstered by the technical expertise to be provided by DPW,” she added.

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