“Guam has a unique story, filled with struggle and triumph. It’s time we share it with our children. It’s time we share it with our visitors. It’s time we share it with the world. The Guam and Chamorro Educational Facility will be the crown jewel of HagÃ¥tÃ±a, but it won’t be alone. Ray and I will continue to push for other projects that will transform our capital city into the heart of culture and history on Guam.” — Governor Eddie Baza Calvo
THE GUAM AND CHAMORRO EDUCATIONAL FACILITY
After 20 years of effort and planning, construction has finally begun on what will be the crown jewel of HagÃ¥tÃ±a: the Guam and Chamorro Educational Facility (GCEF), also known as the Guam Museum. Governor Eddie Baza Calvo unveiled the design of the new museum, and authorized archeological work to begin in September of last year. This morning at Skinner Plaza, Governor Calvo led a groundbreaking ceremony for the GCEF.
SITE PREPARATION TO COMPLETION
Work on the museum’s site preparation will begin this month. The GCEF’s completion date is scheduled for December 2014.
WORLD CLASS FEATURES
The GCEF will boast many features to spotlight Guam’s history and culture. Many of these facilities will also be available for public use, helping to bring our community closer. These include:
- Two floors of exhibition space, including a main gallery and a space for changing exhibits;
- Indoor theater with approximately 180 seats and sloped floor seating for good viewing. The back wall of the theater facing Skinner Plaza will be the screen wall for films to be played in the park.
- Enclosed garden and herbarium with local plant life;
- Arcade — an outdoor paved area between the Theater and Garden;
- Atrium — the raised open-air second level platform under the canopy arch that spans the two main buildings;
- Outdoor stage with a combination of grass and paved area for seating;
- Promenade at the north end of Skinner Plaza with walkways surrounding the war memorials;
- CafÃ© and retail space; and
- Office space for the Guam Museum Foundation.
- HOT Bond projects includes the development of a crosswalk and landings on both sides of Marine Corps Drive. This crosswalk will provide a safer connection between Skinner Plaza and the Chamorro Village for pedestrians visiting the area and crossing the street. The project includes a reconfigured center median, high visibility lighting and paint, staging areas, signage, and will be ADA compliant.
The museum’s architecture blends modern and ancient design. The shape of GCEF’s prominent arch evokes the “Great Seal of Guam.” Its openness symbolizes the Chamorro people’s hospitality, welcoming residents and visitors alike to the museum. The museum complex is elevated by two feet to protect its priceless artifacts from floods.
Mimicking filtered light in Guam’s jungles, glazed openings in the arched structure will allow light to filter to the flexible space that will house the cafÃ©, retail space and lobby space below. The exterior structural concrete walls will be clad in ceramic tiles to emulate guafak, the traditional woven mat used for sleeping surfaces and for wall coverings. The woven structure is patterned after the tinifok hagon niyok (woven coconut leaves) of the gua-gua (woven basket), and guafak (woven mat). As with this traditional technique, there are spaces throughout the Museum intertwining “palm leaves” allowing light and air to flow through the area.
EXHIBIT GALLERIES, CAFÃ‰ & BOOKSTORE, STORAGE, OFFICES
The multi-level building includes three levels in the west wing with the main exhibit gallery on two floors. Visitors will enter the main gallery entrance on the second floor, and will immediately notice its soaring 20-foot ceiling. The ground floor houses the changing exhibit gallery and a small office area for the Guam Museum Foundation. The west wing is three levels that house the cafÃ©/bookstore, visitor services, and a multipurpose space on the ground floor. The second floor consists of the administrative offices of the museum, visible storage, and a library/curatorial space. The third floor will be storage space for artifacts.
OPEN-AIR PLAZA & ARCADE, INDOOR THEATRE
Inspired by the acho’ latte (latte stone-raised) huts of the ancient Chamorros, the second floor open-air plaza is accessed via a centrally-located staircase that winds up around the main elevator. On its northern half, an indoor theater and garden flank an open-air arcade which can be used for community events like outdoor movie screenings.
The combination cafe and retail/bookstore, theater, changing exhibits gallery, atrium, and outdoor activity spaces will all be open for public use. This will allow the GCEF to be more than just a museum, but also an invaluable community resource. The museum will offer a place to educate Guamanians and tourists of our history and our culture, to celebrate our Chamorro traditions, and to shop for local/regional art and literature and a place to enjoy the view of Plaza De EspaÃ±a, Skinner Plaza, the Chamorro Village, and all of historical HagÃ¥tÃ±a.
COMPLIMENTING THE CAPITAL
The museum will help reestablish HagÃ¥tÃ±a as the cultural center of Guam. All those involved with this project, including Governor Calvo, Lt. Governor Ray Tenorio, and their administration, took great care to make sure the museum compliments the prominent historical sites surrounding it. The placement and design of the museum structure is respectful of the green space on Skinner Plaza. The building footprint covers only 27 percent of the plaza, and every attempt will be made to use, integrate, and compliment the park with the museum.
A 40-foot wide visual “public right of way” was created that stretches from Chalan Santo Papa through the Museum to Marine Corps Drive beyond. Flanked by two building wings of the Museum, this view is accented and tied together by the iconic arch that rises to a peak of 65 feet. This height is well below the height of the cathedral’s bell tower.
HOT BOND PROJECTS
The museum is the centerpiece of a number of capital improvement projects totaling approximately $55 million and funded through the Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) Bond established by Public Law 30-228. In addition to the museum, the HOT Bonds will fund various projects, including the renovation and restoration of Plaza de Espana in HagÃ¥tÃ±a and the Inarajan Community Center.
The program manager for the GCEF is RW Armstrong, which is overseen by the Guam Economic Development Authority. Local architecture firm LaguaÃ±a and Cristobal designed the GCEF from concept to final construction. The site preparation contractor is Maeda Pacific Corporation.
End of Release