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High Court hears that Behavioral Health Center is a go

reporters@samoanews.com

The High Court heard from Deputy Attorney General Mitzie Jessop and Chief Assistant Attorney General Sarah Everett that the Department of Interior (DOI) has finally approved the construction of the Behavioral Health Center, which is to be built between the Tafuna Correctional Facility and the Juvenile Detention Center in Tafuna.

The matter was heard before Chief Justice Michael Kruse yesterday morning. Chief Assistant AG Everett told the court that nine months of going back and forth with DOI, the government has finally received approval to construct the mental health care facility. 

“This is a huge milestone,” she said.

She added that DOI rendered the approval on Wednesday, September 12, 2012. She added that the Director of Public Works Taeaotui Punaofo Tilei went to work immediately to begin the NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) documentation and bidding process.

DPW has already submitted the Invitation to Bid with six qualified contractors responding to the Request for Qualification.  A pre-bid meeting will take place next Tuesday and the request for bid will expire October 11, 2012.

She added that between October 11 and November 2012 several things are slated take place, including the review of the bids by the Source Evaluation Board where a recommendation will be made to the Chief Procurement Officer (CPO).  Later the CPO will issue an award letter to the successful bidder and the Construction Contract will be routed for signatures.

Furthermore the DPW will have the pre-construction meetings with contractor and the government will issue a notice to proceed with the construction of the facility to commence at the beginning of December.

Everett further explained that for the past nine months, the hold-up has been getting DOI’s approval. The Territorial Office of Fiscal Reform has submitted four revised Scopes of Work, while DPW created three sets of building plans and DOH has provided four operational plans and budgets in order to meet DOI requirements.

The groundbreaking for the mental health facility was held back in April where Governor Togiola Tulafono thanked Chief Justice Michael Kruse for his perseverance, saying if the Chief Justice had not threatened the Department of Health, Department of Public Works, Department of the Human Social Services and the LBJ hospital; they would not have sought my assistance in trying to get the funding to build this facility.  He added this project is long overdue



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