THE Federal Emergency Management Agency has officially awarded over $38.6 million for rebuilding Northern Marianas College which was severely damaged by Super Typhoon Yutu in Oct. 2018.
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres on Thursday said the funding covers NMC Buildings A to W, the NMC gymnasium, campus-wide exterior components, emergency protective measures, and other contents in As Terlaje, as well as buildings on the NMC Tinian campus.
“NMC was among the hardest hit areas by Super Typhoon Yutu, and we have worked extremely hard in our planning and application for funding since the beginning of the recovery,” the governor said in a statement.
“With this latest funding approval, we can continue the work of rebuilding our college so that our Proa family and future students can have a great place to learn, work, and grow. We look forward to building new school buildings, repair damaged facilities, and create a college campus that will have the potential to be one of the best in the Pacific.”
The governor said his administration’s partnership with FEMA “is an important one, and it shows what can be accomplished when we work together for our people.”
On behalf of the CNMI, he added, “Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios and I want to thank FEMA Region IX Administrator Robert J. Fenton Jr., who is also currently serving as the senior official performing the duties of the FEMA administrator in Washington, D.C., for advocating for our needs, as well as our governor’s authorized representative Virginia Villagomez and our Public Assistance team led by Patrick Guerrero for making sure we provide the proper justification for our federal partners. We also want to thank NMC Board Chairman Charles Cepeda and Interim President Frankie Eliptico for their work with our administration to push these projects forward. This is great news for the Commonwealth, and together, we will continue our work in building a stronger NMC and a stronger Marianas,” the governor said.
According to the administration, the project worksheets approved by FEMA include construction and replacement of buildings, classrooms, and facilities on the NMC As Terlaje campus on Saipan and the NMC campus on Tinian.
“Super Typhoon Yutu wreaked unprecedented devastation and damage to NMC,” said Frankie Eliptico, Northern Marianas College interim president. “The storm’s powerful winds and rain caused structural damage to many facilities and destroyed classrooms, offices, cafeteria, bookstore, all computer labs, student center, CREES offices, and many other facilities on our campus.”
“The funds from FEMA’s Public Assistance program will help in large part to rebuild our campus and give the college an opportunity to construct brand new facilities that are modern, typhoon-resilient, technologically advanced, and energy efficient,” Eliptico added.
The governor’s authorized representative to FEMA for Super Typhoon Yutu, Virginia Villagomez, said the CNMI will continue its work on typhoon-related recovery.
“This is certainly welcome news for NMC and for the CNMI. The Torres-Palacios administration will continue its commitment to rebuild homes, schools, and public facilities, while prioritizing mitigation projects that will protect life and property in our community and thus strengthen and improve our mitigation efforts throughout the Commonwealth. We are grateful for FEMA’s efforts to secure this approval and as partners, we look forward to successfully completing projects benefiting our community,” Villagomez said.