GDOE seeks funding to cover walkways at middle school

EXPOSED: Benavente Middle School students walk on campus Monday as rainclouds gather. The school's students get soaked in the rain when moving between some of the classrooms on campus that don't have covered walkways. Donatna KEraskes/The Guam Daily Post

The Guam Department of Education is working to find money to build canopies at Benavente Middle School.

Department spokeswoman Isa Baza said there are three schools currently undergoing canopy repair projects funded through the U.S. Department of the Interior Office of Insular Affairs.

But BMS was not eligible for the program because Interior’s Assessment of Buildings and Classrooms initiative only covered existing canopies for replacement.

"However, GDOE was able to have a design approved and paid for under the ABC program," Baza said. Now, the department is trying to fund the project.

The lack of canopies has been an ongoing concern at BMS, because some classrooms are not connected with sheltered walkways.

Gary Kuper, a Dededo resident, said covered walkways are needed for both the sixth and eighth grade wings. Kuper said he had spoken with the BMS principal and has posted about the issue on social media, so he is confident "everyone who needs to know about the problem, knows about the problem."

Past emails to GDOE personnel have not received replies, he added.

LBJ, Agueda and Marcial Sablan canopies being built, but delayed

Meanwhile, the canopy projects at the other three schools – Lyndon B. Johnson Elementary School, Agueda Johnston Middle School and Marcial Sablan Elementary School – all have experienced delays.

The LBJ canopies are on track to be completed by the end of the month, Baza said.

However, the Agueda Johnston and Marcial Sablan canopy projects have been extended to November. The extension for Agueda Johnston was due in part "to a material delivery delay and foundation/footing weaknesses that required redesign," Baza said.

"The extension at Marcial Sablan Elementary School was due to a building permit processing clearance delay," she added.