By S.J. Grady
USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs Office
Military and community leaders gathered Nov. 12 to break ground for the new elementary and high schools being built in Böblingen, near Panzer Kaserne.
With construction already under way at the Panzer Local Training Area, the ceremony allowed representatives from U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart, the German State Construction Office Reutlingen and Supreme Finance Department Karlsruhe, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District and Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Europe to celebrate the long-awaited projects coming to fruition.
“This project is the No. 1 priority for the Stuttgart military community. We’ve been working to get new schools to the U.S. military community here in Stuttgart for years,” said U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Commander Col. John P. Stack during the ceremony.
“We know the current schools are severely undersized. This campus will dramatically improve the infrastructure support for our students, teachers and parents as they work together … toward greater levels of academic excellence,” Stack said.
The planning process for the schools began in 2009. Congress appropriated $50 million for the elementary school in fiscal year 2010, $48 million for the high school in FY 2011.
The new campus will be comprised of a 150,000-square-foot high school with a capacity for 650 students and a 95,000-square-foot elementary school for 610 students, according to officials at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District, the military construction agent responsible for design and construction of major facilities for U.S. forces across Europe.
Plans call for the schools to be completed for the start of the 2015-16 school year.
Col. D. Peter Helmlinger, the Army Corps of Engineers Europe District commander, on hand for the groundbreaking, emphasized the importance of teamwork and the ultimate goal of all involved.
“A project of this magnitude cannot be finished without the dedicated team of professionals we’re fortunate to have. Our partners include DODDS-Europe, USAG Stuttgart, the Staatliches Hochbauamt Reutlingen, and our newest and very important team member, Wolff & Müller [Government Services GmbH & Co. KG], who was awarded the construction contract in July,” he said during his remarks.
“All our efforts are focused on meeting the needs of the tremendous service members, civilians and families who live here. This $98 million investment is being made to replace aging schools with state-of-the-art facilities that will help give our military children the best possible opportunities during their intellectual growth,” Helmlinger said.
The complex, designed by the architect firm of Team Gaus and Aldinger of Stuttgart, includes general classrooms, information centers, computer labs, gymnasiums and ample parking. Plans for the elementary school include a playground, while the high school will have an auditorium and various sports fields.
The two schools will be connected by a common food services kitchen with two multipurpose/cafeteria rooms.
The design plans incorporate numerous sustainable design and energy-saving features that will increase the school complex’s life span and reduce any impact on the environment.
The complex will be fully enclosed with perimeter fencing, and a tunnel will be constructed under Panzerstrasse to allow easy access from the school complex to Panzer Kaserne.