SEOUL, Republic of Korea — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Far East District turned over two school projects this month; each with its similarities and differences. Both school projects were completed on time to be opened on the first day of school.
The first one to hold a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony was the new Daegu High School at Camp Walker Sept. 7. FED converted an existing three-story barracks and dining facility into a school. This $8 million project broke ground in July 2010 and was turned over to the garrison in July 2011.
“The project got done on time because of the contractor,” said Darold Sanderson, the project manager. “They were very organized and begun mod work as soon as they knew we were going for a modification.”
Throughout the year, the project was modified over 20 times to meet the requests of the customer: the Department of Defense Dependent Schools.
“In general the mods and negotiating process went smooth and fast,” said Sanderson.
The school will relieve the one on Camp George which was shared by elementary, middle, and high school students. The garrison asked for this project quickly and FED and the contractor worked hard to deliver within a year.
“As for me it was not a strenuous project at all,” said Sanderson. “It was great working with Yuil Engineering and Construction.”
Converting an existing barracks helped save on time. Once complete, the building did not even resemble a barracks any longer. The only clue that was left behind was a mural of the Soldier’s Creed left uncovered in the stairwell.
“We decided that we wanted to keep that because we here at Daegu High School are the Warriors,” said Kristopher Kwiatek, the principal.
In a similar success story, FED expanded a school at Camp Casey in Dongducheon. Casey Elementary School held its grand opening for the expansion project Sept.8.
The school opened last year serving all of Area I. Still, some of the kindergarten through eighth grade students in this area had to commute to Seoul or attend a local school. FED expanded the school to accommodate 250 more pupils.
This quick project had also only broken ground last year.
“We did it quickly, but we also did it safely,” said Cheung, Jin-young, Project Administrator from Yuil Engineering and Construction Co., Ltd.
Casey Elementary School supports Phase 1 of relocation. This made it a priority project for U.S. Forces Korea. In attendance at the ceremony was Gen. James Thurman, United States Forces Korea Commander, along with Maj. Gen. Michael Tucker, 2nd Infantry Division Commander.
Thurman is a strong supporter of education initiatives and shared some statistics about education during his remarks at the ceremony.
“We must invest in our children,” said Thurman.
He continued by mentioning that the investment must also include facilities.