FEMA awards $1.5M to Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music
The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced it has awarded nearly $1.5 million to repair the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music for damages caused by Hurricane María.
Beyond being a specialized public university, the Conservatory is a symbol of Puerto Rico’s heritage and musical traditions, the agency said.
To help preserve the unique qualities of this facility, a team of FEMA specialists assessed the damage and construction of the historic structure. Among other measures, the experts considered the fusion of modern features embedded in a building that dates from the XIX Century and is the last construction work completed by the Spanish government on the island.
“The Conservatory is an iconic place for music in Puerto Rico. Given its historic nature, it’s important to restore this facility for future generations,” said Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, José Baquero-Tirado.
About $367,000 of the funds allocated are destined for mitigation measures to prevent similar damage in future disasters. These include upgrades to avoid water leaks in the roof and windows, which caused most of the damage to this structure, he said.
Pedro Segarra-Sisamone, the conservatory’s rector, said FEMA’s evaluation was very comprehensive.
“Once the appropriate materials for the restoration were determined, the costs were estimated,” he said.
The Conservatory is home to piano laboratories, a library, concert halls and an amphitheater. In addition to its undergraduate academic offerings, which serve 400 students, the Conservatory offers programs such as “100×35 Music” and the Preparatory School.
These develop social skills through music and have a combined total of nearly 1,600 students.
“We’re very pleased to help the Conservatory of Music continue offering community and educational services,” said the Executive Director of the Central Office of Recovery, Reconstruction and Resiliency, known as COR3, Ottmar Chávez.
“Music is an art form that has helped us so much during these times and Puerto Rico has an enormous pool of talent that must continue to develop. We appreciate the Conservatory staff members for their great efforts and achievements, particularly during these past months,” he said.