Design contract for new Simon Sanchez High School under review

SIMON SANCHEZ HIGH: The construction of a new Simon Sanchez High School in Yigo has been years in the making. The latest attempt to bid out the project failed in 2017. Norman M. Taruc/The Guam Daily Post

The Guam Department of Education has submitted a design contract for a new Simon Sanchez High School to the Office of the Attorney General for review and approval. 

The goal is to get the attorney general and the governor to sign off on the contract before the end of September, according to Superintendent Jon Fernandez. 

The construction of a new Simon Sanchez High School has been years in the making. An attempt to bid out the project failed in 2017, resulting in the introduction of several pieces of legislation intended to help move the process along. 

GDOE was ultimately granted the authority to head the procurement of a new school, which is now being done in phases.

The contract up for approval is for architectural and engineering services for the design phase of the project. 

"Once that design phase results in specifications for exactly what we want to be built, the next phase will be the contractor," Fernandez said. "We'll be entering into an agreement with a contractor who will be able to finance and build that school."

GDOE and the Office of the Governor announced in October 2019 that they would pledge a collective $4 million for architectural and engineering expenses. The governor said $1.1 million of that amount would come from U.S. Department of the Interior capital improvement funding. This left the remaining $2.9 million with GDOE.

"This is the critical phase that we have had to basically front the funding for," Fernandez said. "And then once we get to the finance and construction phase, in public law there is already a reservation of revenues that will support the financing and construction." 

When Fernandez spoke to the Post on Sept. 2, GDOE was in the process of ensuring that final reviews were conducted and signatures were secured between the parties. GDOE spokeswoman Isa Baza confirmed that the documents were sent to the attorney general Friday. 

Fernandez said he does not believe being under Pandemic Condition of Readiness 1 will prevent the process from moving forward, although it has created some constraints. 

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