WIESBADEN, Germany - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Europe District, is helping modernize and raise the quality-of-life for Soldiers and their families in Hainerberg Housing.
From construction and renovations at the high school to preparing the site for a new commissary, residents continue to see improvements in their neighborhood.
 Roger Gerber, chief of the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden's Transformation and Stationing Management Office, said these improvements maintain the standard of living for Soldiers and are needed for the U.S. Army Europe Headquarters arriving in 2012.
"Transforming our education facilities is a key part of preparing for new Soldiers while ensuring the facilities meet the modern needs," Gerber said.
USACE is managing construction at Wiesbaden High School.
One project seeks to convert the existing auxiliary gym into a multipurpose room that includes a cafeteria and a large group assembly area complete with a stage.
Additionally, the contact includes construction of a new curriculum building. When complete in late 2012, the building will house five new science classrooms, art and music rooms, Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps, vocational and technical training areas, and a school supply facility.
"We believe that schools of the future must be flexible and adaptable, allowing us to adjust to new and innovative ways in how we deliver instruction and meet the needs of the students," said Robert Purtiman, a Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Europe spokesperson. "As we journey further into the 21st century, we are seeing dramatic changes in how students communicate, interact and learn. Our schools have to keep up with those changes."
Other improvements include parking, a bus loading and unloading zone, updated signage, fencing, paving, landscaping, covered walkways and exterior lighting.
USACE completed construction of a new high school gymnasium earlier this year.
"DoDEA [Department of Defense Education Activity] has embarked on a process to best define 21st century schools which take into consideration innovation in education, curriculum delivery, use of technology and the growing expectations for sustainability and energy conservation," said Purtiman.
According to Stephen Arn, DoDDS-E's general engineer, the high school currently enrolls more than 400 students ranging from ninth through 12th grades. He said the projects are designed to ensure the school can support the contemporary educational needs.
"The existing facilities were constructed in the mid-1950s," Arn said. "They are substandard in size and can no longer support today's and tomorrow's educational requirements."
Earlier this year, USACE completed construction of a new communal 15,550-square-foot multipurpose room which features a large joint-use room equipped with a stage, full-service kitchen, serving area, storage rooms and entrance foyer for students at Hainerberg Elementary School and Wiesbaden Middle School.
In May, a new School Age Center, which is operated by Family Morale, Welfare and Recreation, opened its doors on another corps-managed facility in Hainerberg Housing.
"We're very excited about the new facility," Deborah Jackson, SAC administrator, said. "Our old facility had two rooms and could only host 30 children. This new facility is designed to host up to 105 children."
Jackson said the center received its national accreditation in June 2011. She believes part of the reason for receiving accreditation so quickly is because of the new facility's features and the programs offered.
The center is designed to provide child care for children in the first through fifth grades outside normal school hours, Jackson said. Additionally, the programs offer assistance with homework and a variety of activities including a photography club, gardening and sewing classes, and sports and fitness.
While the education-related projects make up part of the construction on Hainerberg, driving through the housing area, residents will notice other construction projects as well.
An additional project on the horizon is the construction of a new Post Exchange and commissary. Currently the district is overseeing the preparation of the site.
According to Gerber, the Defense Commissary Agency has funded a concept design that ensures the commissary building, parking, access and utility connections are all coordinated with the new PX project on the same site.
"The current commissary is old and due for replacement," Gerber said. "The new facility will have the added convenience of being co-located with the PX."
In late 2014, when the majority of the construction projects are completed, visitors to the Hainerberg Housing area will pass through a new Access Control Point designed to increase protection and safety to the housing area. The ACP will provide standard requirements such as fence gates, visitor parking, three entry lanes, pedestrian lane, truck searching area and other security features.
Gerber said the ACP will be constructed near the B455 and Washington Street intersection which will allow the entire Hainerberg area to be enclosed, providing force protection for the community while eliminating separate fences and guards for the schools.
"We appreciate the patience and cooperation of the residents as we continue making improvements," Geber said.