Guam Community College and the Guam Power Authority will partner on a training facility. The training school will be part of a new 300-acre college campus and the college will solicit interest in similar trades training facilities.

In order for GPA to have access to some areas of GCC land the two organizations have worked out an arrangement where GPA would build a training facility for GCC students specific to the needs of its workforce.

The college intends to call for other organizations to consider similar usage. Herominiano Delos Santos president of the GCC told the Journal "GCC has decided based on the most recent plans on how to phase in various potential educational facilities to do an RFI request for interest for those who may want to partner up with us to set up educational facilities that would benefit their given industry." Delos Santos said there is no definite date for the release of the RFI.

GCC has the deed to more than 300 acres of land located along Route 15. Despite a claim that the land could be returned to its original landowners (See "Forbes bill to give current GCC land to original landowners" in the Oct. 31 2005 edition of the Journal.) Delos Santos said the land is mandated to the college.

"I appreciate the fact that the federal government has decided to give up their lands. What needs to be noted is that GCC’s land was not part of the federal excess inventory. The land was acquired by an act of Congress for the Guam Community College. There were certain restrictions but those have been removed. We have the deed." He added "What GCC is planning to do with the land is for the betterment of the community. That will hopefully help people to decide to reconsider."

The GCC master plan has yet to be finalized. A draft plan intends improvements to the campus in six phases.

"¢ Phase 1 includes reconfiguring the parking lot to hold approximately 225 spaces and the construction of an 11 000 square-foot two-story student center. In the student center will be located a 3 400 square foot lounge/lobby area a 1 000 square-foot bookstore and rooms for student organizations campus life and student leadership student government tutoring peer education judicial affairs a career placement center and a student meeting space.

"¢ Phase 2 entails the construction of an LRC program which includes a reading a 14 000 square-foot reading area a 1 200 square foot computer work area a 2 000 square foot computer lab meeting rooms audio visual rooms staff areas and a coffee bar. An entrance to Parking Lots one and two will also be constructed along with an access road to buildings 500 600 and 900 from Corten Torres Street and the construction of a new mass transit shelter along Sesame Street.

"¢ Phase 3 is the key phase of the master plan. Phase three includes making necessary improvements to storm water drainage for future development; refurbishing Bldg. 100 and adding a second floor; construction of a 13 000 square-foot maintenance building as flexible space for interim use as a classroom shop or office space as the subsequent phases are executed after which it will be occupied by the maintenance department; and construction of parking lot three and a student’s square.

"¢ Phase 4 includes the refurbishing of Bldg. 200 and 300 and adding second floors to those buildings.

"¢ Phase 5 includes the refurbishing of Bldg. 500 and 600 and the construction of a new two-story 24 000 square-foot criminal justice building with classrooms a forensic science lab computer labs locker rooms and an assembly area.

"¢ Phase 6 includes the final exterior space improvements such as landscaping.

Delos Santos said GCC plans to pay for the renovations through an increase in tuition as well as a gift giving campaign. If someone donates $1 million or more then they have the option of naming a building.

Delos Santos said when his contract is up in April 2007 he will retire having seen the building plan through. "When my tenure is up in April 2007 there would have been close to $10 000 000 in improvements " he said.

Delos Santos said GCC’s mission has not shifted away from the trades but enhanced its curriculum to include the necessary skills students need to improve their quality of life. "It is incumbent upon this organization "" incumbent upon education "" to make sure that we have an educated workforce able to think logically and also able to make the necessary changes if they decide to change from one career path to another."

He said the lack of a skilled workforce on Guam could be attributed to the fact that many companies bring in H-2 workers. "Faced with those types of workers locals have left the island looking for a better quality of life." GCC can train skilled workers Delos Santos said but in order for them to stay on Guam companies on-island have to be able to give them some stability in their job and pay them enough.

Delos Santos said over the years the GCC has suffered from the misconception that its students were unable to compete academically. "There was always an unfair categorization of students who came here. Those who came to a trade school are students who are not able to make it academically therefore they need to go to a trade school. When in fact those who came here had just as strong academic backgrounds. That way of thinking continues to permeate throughout the community." He said he hopes that through the improvements to the campus word of mouth and this interview people will reconsider their view of GCC. MBJ