DYWA offices to have new location — the Youth Community Center in Pago
Construction of the Youth Community Center in Pago Pago is expected to be completed later this year in October. This is according to Pa’u Roy Ausage, the Deputy Director of the Department of Youth and Women’s Affairs (DYWA), the government office that is overseeing the project and will be managing the new building.
The pillars for the new structure are already up and Pa’u said yesterday that the next phase will include construction of the beam that will encircle the entire building.
The project is contracted to Paramount Builders, who is providing the labor, while the government is responsible for all the building materials.
Pa’u said the roofing materials are being shipped in from New Zealand and their goal is to get everything here in a timely manner so there are no hiccups or unnecessary delays to the work.
Initially thought to be used entirely for recreation and sports, Pa’u revealed yesterday that the Youth Community Center, once completed, will become the new home of the DYWA, which is currently housed on the second floor of the A.P. Lutali Executive Office Building in Utulei.
“The Pago Pago location will become our centralized office,” he said.
According to Pa’u, the structure will be a two-story complex that will feature seven main sections. The section on the upper level on the sami side will be DYWA’s future home while the other sections will be open for use by different organizations, churches, and youth groups who want to utilize the space for everything from meetings, workshops, and seminars.
The first floor, Pa’u explained, will feature a weight room and space where basketball and volleyball games will be held.
Once the building is officially dedicated, a Youth Summit will be held there.
“The Summit is a way for youth to come together to discuss pertinent current issues that affect young people and to discuss what’s in store for them, as far as solutions,” Pa’u explained.
He said it is Governor Lolo Moliga’s wish to “utilize” the Youth Community Center to the fullest, and to provide accessibility for east siders, all in the name of youth development.
Pa’u said having their office relocate to the Youth Community Center will be a positive thing for them, as far as having one centralized location to hold the numerous classes and training courses they offer.
Currently, the DYWA offers classes in cooking, sewing, hairstyling, flower arranging, and elei printing. The classes are usually held in different places across the territory.
“With the new location, we will no longer have to look around for different venues to conduct our training courses and classes,” he said.
He said organizations and groups who want to utilize the building for whatever reason will most likely be charged a small fee to cover utility charges, although an official fee structure is yet to be in place.
The Youth Community Center is being built at the former site of the Korea House in Pago Pago, which was demolished two years ago in preparation for the construction of the new Youth Community Center, after engineers concluded that the structure was “unsafe”, and in such a bad state that renovation work just wouldn’t do it.
The Indonesian government pledged $300,000 to fund the construction of the new Youth Community Center and the American Samoa Government is putting up $300,000 of its own for the project. ASG's share comes from the reprogramming of monies from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for projects that did not meet certain deadlines. The project was estimated to cost $700,000, and the additional $100,000 was to come from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).
Earlier this year, the Dept. of Commerce announced that it was seeking to reprogram over $1 million from the CDBG program for program years (PY) 2011, 2012, and 2013. The reprogramming includes the $100,000 for the Youth Center project.
At the time, a DOC official explained, “there are so many issues surrounding the process.” For the Youth Center in particular, DOC was informed, “that the project no longer needed funds from the CDBG.”
There were requirements that had to be met in order for the $100K to be released for the Youth Community Center project. For example, since HUD is the grantor, contractors have to be able to provide a 100% surety bond. In this case, Samoa News understands the surety bond requirement wasn’t something that would come easy and therefore, DOC was told that CDBG funds would no longer be needed for the project.