Interior Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas Esther Kia’aina announced yesterday the release of $1.9 million in Capital Improvement Projects grant funding to American Samoa through the Office of Insular Affairs’ Capital Improvement Project Program. The funds support Gov. Lolo Moliga’s priorities and much needed improvements to critical infrastructure in the territory.
“Much of this CIP funding helps bring to completion health, education and transportation infrastructure projects that OIA has funded previously,” said Kia’aina. “We are extremely pleased to support the governor and the people of American Samoa in this way.”
Grants awarded this week were as follows:
• $700,000 for a new classroom building at Aua Elementary School to alleviate overcrowding. The 3,840 square foot building will have four classrooms and will be connected to a brand new two-story classroom building that was completed with fiscal year 2011 CIP grant funding. In total, the two new buildings will provide a new cafeteria and nine new classrooms for the elementary school.
• $711,533 to the Department of Port Administration for construction of a new service wharf. The project, which costs a total of $8.7 million and is part of the territory’s Five-Year and Long-Term Facilities Plans, will provide a new wharf for servicing ships and facilitating port operations in Pago Pago Harbor. The existing service wharf, which was built in the 1950s on sediment instead of a solid basalt foundation, has deteriorated to a state that is unsafe for port operations and is slowly sinking. Initial plans to renovate the wharf were scrapped following geotechnical investigations that recommended new construction as the safest option. The Port Administration recently selected a contractor and construction is expected to begin before the end of the year.
• $200,000 to complete funding for a fully equipped and operational Primary Care Center in Faga’alu. This grant supplements a $500,000 CIP grant awarded earlier this year, bringing the total project cost to $700,000. An existing building that houses Physical Exams and the Well Baby Clinic will be renovated and upgraded to include six exam rooms, three medical offices, a staff conference room, two full locker rooms for clinical staff, and two lavatories. The center will also be expanded to add a patient waiting area, receptionist desk, nursing area, and space for records management.
• $278,434 to purchase furniture and equipment for the Pago Pago Youth Center. The newly constructed community center will include an indoor basketball/volleyball court, kitchen, computer lab, sewing room, weight room, stage area, restrooms, and office areas. The new furniture, equipment, and supplies will help the American Samoa Department of Youth and Women’s Affairs furnish the new building and facilitate recreational programs such as the Youth Academy, sewing, cooking, flower arrangements, and other programs for youth and the elderly.