Gov. Ralph DLG Torres said FEMA awarded Hopwood Middle School a total of $25,112,198 for the replacement of buildings on the Chalan Piao campus.
For the repair work at Oleai Elementary School, FEMA awarded $2,266,788.
“With this latest funding approval, we can continue our work on our hardest hit schools like Hopwood and Oleai so that we can give our students and teachers a great place to learn and grow. We look forward to building new school buildings, repair damaged facilities, and create school campuses that will have the potential to be some of the best in the Pacific,” Torres said in a statement.
The $25.1 million for Hopwood will fund the replacement of the administrative and library facility, repairs across the whole campus, new electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems, installation of new roofing, windows, doors, and flooring, and the addition of ADA access features such as entrance ramps for people with wheelchairs.
In a recent report, the Public School System told the Board of Education that the repair of 19 classrooms at Hopwood, and the renovation of hallways and the cafeteria have been completed.
The $2.3 million for Oleai Elementary School will fund the replacement of air conditioning units, the removal and replacement of lights, walls, doors, and floorings in classrooms, restrooms, and the cafeteria building.
After the typhoon, the governor said the CNMI worked hard to restore power, water and essential services to the community.
By partnering with FEMA, he said they were able to build new homes through the Permanent Housing Construction program and repair damaged homes of families who have been severely impacted by Yutu.
“Our administration’s partnership with FEMA and the White House is an important one, and it shows what can be accomplished when we work together for our people,” he added.
Torres thanked FEMA Region IX Administrator Robert J. Fenton Jr. for supporting the CNMI needs.
The governor also expressed appreciation to his authorized representative Virginia Villagomez and the Public Assistance team for providing proper justification to the CNMI’s federal partners.
“The CNMI will remain firm in its commitment to prioritize mitigation projects that will protect life and property in our community, thus strengthen and improve our mitigation efforts throughout the Commonwealth.” Villagomez said. “We are grateful for all the efforts that FEMA has driven to secure this approval and as partners, we look forward to successfully completing projects benefiting our community.”
In a separate statement, FEMA noted that Yutu was “the strongest storm of 2018, with sustained winds of 175 mph….” When it directly hit the CNMI, “Yutu destroyed critical infrastructure and countless homes on Saipan and Tinian, injured at least 133 and took the lives of two residents.”
As recovery continues, FEMA said it expects to invest more than $80 million through its Hazard Mitigation Grant Program to fund projects that reduce or eliminate the long-term risk to life and property from future hazards like wind, flooding and other threats.
“Collectively, we are vested in and committed to CNMI’s long-term recovery plan to restore a functioning, healthy economy, improve infrastructure, expand housing, address environmental considerations, and make CNMI more resistant to future disasters,” FEMA stated.