A new building will bring the largest construction project for the University of Guam since the English and Communications Building and the College of Arts and Sciences and College of Agriculture buildings were completed in the mid-’90s.

The campus will see a new business studies center: named the Jesus and Eugenia Leon Guerrero School of Business and Public Administration Building. The groundbreaking will take place in the coming weeks.

Buildings A and B will be demolished and a two-story 55 573-square-foot facility will be constructed in its place. The cost of the building itself is approximately $11 million with the total cost of the entire project at approximately $14.7 million.

The new building will include classrooms a lecture hall computer labs a multipurpose room conference rooms a research center and an electronic library/student meeting room. The facility will also house offices for business public administration international tourism and hospitality faculty and the Small Business Development Center.

The university announced the request for proposals on Jan. 23 and closed the bid on March 26. Three companies responded to the bid: Reliable Builders Inc. JA Jones Management Services and Nippon Corp./International Bridge Corp. Joint Venture. The university will have a formal announcement of the bid winner within a couple of weeks.

David M. O’Brien vice president of finance at the university said “It will be one of the major buildings on our campus. The school of business and public administration is the second biggest school on campus in terms of the number of students who have a major in this field.”

The business school has 583 students enrolled. It had 61 graduates for fall 2003 out of a total of 146 university graduates; and 77 graduates for spring 2003 out of a total of 347 university graduates.

“The Business and Public Administration building is a critically needed academic facility in line with the university’s capital facilities master plan which was approved by the board of regents in 2000 ” said Dr. Harold L. Allen president of the university. Sonny P. Perez chief plant and facilities officer for the university and project manager of the new building said “It’s a complex project. We expect it [construction] to last about three years with the numerous parties involved: the university the contractor the architect and designers and of course USDA [U.S. Department of Agriculture]. We’re targeting groundbreaking in late April or early May.”

The new facility has been in the university’s plans for a number of years. “It took some time to identify and assess funding ” O’Brien said.

The building is funded through a $13.5 million U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Community Facilities Loan at 4.5% interest for a 40-year term. O’Brien said “The loan agreement from USDA which was secured in June 2003 … allowed us the financing to proceed with construction.”

Repayment comes from three sources: Public Law 26-48 which stated the government of Guam would provide $500 000 each year to assist in repaying the loan; the University of Guam Endowment Foundation which agreed to contribute $200 000 per year; and the School of Business and Public Administration which identified funds earned each year to make up the difference in repayment. The university foundation is planning a number of fund-raising endeavors to cover its share of repayment. The building is named after the late founder of Bank of Guam and his wife. The Leon Guerrero family pledged $1 million to the building. One of the Leon Guerrero’s sons Jesse Leon Guerrero is chairman of the endowment foundation.

He said “This building has been a long time coming and it stemmed from my father’s commitment to UOG and to higher education in general. He was a member of the UOG board of regents for several years… and it was during that period that they founded the UOG Endowment Foundation under the leadership of my father. Our contribution to the university is pretty much a family commitment. Along with myself as chairman of the UOG Endowment Foundation serving for six years on the board of regents my brother Anthony Leon Guerrero president of Bank of Guam was also a former member of the UOG Board of Regents. My sister [Sen.] Lou Leon Guerrero has also been committed to higher education especially in respect to the School of Nursing at the University of Guam. Last but not least my mother who is the matriarch of our family has along with my father been continually committed to the development of the University of Guam. I’d like to acknowledge former Gov. Joseph Ada who was very instrumental in the naming of the building who authored the public law to name the building after my parents based on the long-time public and community service that my father has given to the people of Guam.”

O’Brien said “There are a number of people who were very instrumental in creating/approving legislation that enabled us to get financing in place.” He credited members of the 26th Guam Legislature and officers of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Office on Guam.

Enrico A. “Andy” Cristobal architect at Laguana Cristobal said completed the first drawing for the project back in 1995 and finalized the plans that same year.
He said the two-story design “will have the latest communications and computer applications. The building will be fully concrete and air-conditioned with emergency generators. It will also have improvements for university roadways and infrastructure to include a few hundred parking spaces.”

“We see the building as contributing to the economic development of Guam ” O’Brien said. “We will train the future graduates with the latest technology and eventually we hope to house a regional economic data center in addition to the small -business development center and school of business. The building itself will inject $14 million into the economy over the next couple of years as we proceed with the project.” MBJ