WIESBADEN, Germany -- The first 21st-century high school for the military in Europe opened its doors Aug. 28 for the 2017-2018 school year here.
Europe District, U.S. Corps of Engineers, gave the school keys to the Department of Defense Education Activity -- Europe in May following a successful construction project where the project delivery team met the construction deadlines.
Presently the district is managing the construction of six schools and has another 13 in design that support more than 12,500 students. The district serves as the design and construction agent for the building and renovating of DoDEA schools in Europe.
Funded in fiscal 2013 for $52 million, Wiesbaden High School, with more than 100,000 square feet, will support a target student population of 655.
"The high school was designed and constructed following the DoDEA 21st-century educational facility specifications, which are very different from the traditional school settings," said Mike Voich, district manager for the DoDEA-Europe Program. "These specifications are guiding the design and construction of all future DoDEA schools currently underway by the district. The 21st-century specifications help the design teams create classrooms and learning spaces that are flexible and adaptable, facilitate multiple modes of learning and provides varying scales of learning environments."
During a tour of Wiesbaden High School, Voich told Dr. Larry McCallister, chief of Engineering and Construction for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, that the building becomes a teaching tool with systems and building components exposed to provide real-world relevance and examples to reinforce the science, technology, engineering and math curriculum.
Constructing facilities to support the U.S. armed forces in Germany requires working with German state construction agencies, called bauamts, because of the NATO Status of Forces Agreement. The process starts with a stakeholder, DoDEA for example, needing a construction project -- Wiesbaden High School, Zachary Kluckowski, resident engineer for Wiesbaden Resident Office, explained. Working through the bauamt for the architectural and engineering design, Europe District issues an indirect contract, bids are evaluated and then the project is awarded. And construction begins.
However, it's not that simple, said Wolfgang Schnitzer, with Landesbetrieb Bau und Immobilien Hessen, the Construction and Real Estate Authority for the state of Hessen aka the bauamt during the groundbreaking ceremony for the Wiesbaden Middle School last November, citing fire protection codes as an example.
"Thirty-five German and 22 American individual regulations and requirements solely regarding fire protection needed to be observed and coordinated," he said. "Only with a good construction team working together can such challenges be met and mastered."
"We manage the construction through a partnership with the bauamt, and having native German speakers (who are Corps employees) makes us a stronger team," he said. "It's easier to connect with the contractors when speaking their language."
"The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District is a great partner in creating DoDEA-Europe facilities that support a 21st-century learning environment and increased student achievement," said Dr. Dell McMullen, DoDEA-Europe director. "Wiesbaden High School is a testament to the Corps' professionalism and commitment to serving military-connected students and families."
Europe District and its 500 professionals deliver construction projects totaling more than $800 million annually in over 40 countries through Europe and Africa.