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Update on Current Construction and Re-Districting Plans for Okinawa Schools

DoDEA Pacific South DSO
Kadena AFB, Okinawa | February 21, 2019


SUBJECT: Update on Current Construction and Re-Districting Plans for Okinawa Schools

As you know, the possibility of redistricting the Okinawa schools has been a topic under review for the last two years. This review is driven by several factors that include: 1) the construction projects that are part of the DoDEA 21st Century Schools program and 2) shifts in populations that are related to changing availability of housing on the island.

In all instances, we try to minimize disruptions that impact families and students and we also want to ensure that students are being educated in the best facilities possible while minimizing the time students spend on buses to and from the school locations.

The DoDEA 21st Century Schools construction program is a wide-ranging and long-term program that is summarized here:

Amelia Earhart IS – this school will eventually be replaced with the new Amelia Earhart ES that will be built at the current Stearley Heights ES site. The projected start of this project is after 2024.

Bechtel ES – this school is scheduled for a renovation/construction project on the current site. This project requires the relocation of the entire school population for a period of four years. Current plans are to relocate the students to Ryukyu MS. The relocation of the Bechtel population will not occur until there is a contract in place for the project. At this time, the earliest this could occur would be the winter break of School Year 2019-2020. If a contract isn't in place, the project will be rescheduled and the 'swing space' that is currently the Ryukyu MS facility might be at another site when the project begins.

Bob Hope PS – the replacement for Bob Hope PS is currently under construction at the old Kadena site. The new school will be Bob Hope Elementary School. This school is currently scheduled for completion in January of 2022 with occupancy to occur in the fall of 2022.

Kadena ES – The construction of this 21st Century School was completed and the school was occupied in February 2018.

Kadena HS – This project has been put 'on hold' and is scheduled for construction sometime after 2025.

Kadena MS – There was renovations of the Kadena MS facility – completed and occupancy took place in the middle of School Year 2017-2018.

Killin ES – This project is underway. The discovery and subsequent removal of unexploded ordnance delayed the project. The ordnance has been removed and the construction is back under way with a completion of the project in the Spring of 2022.

Kinser ES – At this time there is no plan for any replacement or renovation of the Kinser ES facility.

Kubasaki HS – The replacement for Kubasaki HS is/was scheduled for the old Zukeran ES site. Bids received were in excess of the programmed amount and the project was put 'on hold' for the time being. Repair, maintenance and sustainment funds are going to be used to upgrade the existing facility and extend the life of the facility for eight to ten years. Lester MS – The replacement for Lester MS is a project that is being financed and constructed through the Government of Japan in the Kishaba housing area. Start and completion times are unknown at this time. The current Lester MS will continue to operate on the current site until this project is completed.

Ryukyu MS – Ryukyu MS opened in 2008. This school will remain 'as is' and will likely be used to provide some needed 'swing space' for other school populations during construction projects.

Stearley Heights ES – This school will eventually disappear at the end state when Kadena Air Base will have three elementary schools (Amelia Earhart ES, Bob Hope ES and Kadena ES instead of the current two elementary schools (Kadena ES and Stearley Heights ES) one primary school (Bob Hope PS) and one intermediate school (Amelia Earhart IS).

Zukeran ES – Construction of this 21st Century School is completed and the school opened in August 2018.

Redistricting Plan Summary

Current re-districting plans for School Year 2019-2020, are designed for limiting the disruption that will impact students and families. The current plans, by school level, are as follows:

Elementary Schools: There is no plan for any redistricting of elementary schools at this time. Attendance zones will remain as they are for the current year.

Middle Schools: There will be re-districting of the middle schools to facilitate the needed 'swing space' for the Bechtel ES relocation at Ryukyu MS. There will be limited enrollment of middle school students at Ryukyu MS. This will consist of the middle school students from Camp Courtney and Camp McTureous along with limited 'walking area students in a small area around Ryukyu MS. Students living on Kadena Air Base, the East side of the island and those within walking zones will attend Kadena MS and the students from Camp Kinser, Camp Foster, Camp Lester and those living on the West side of the island (Chatan, Sunabe, Yomitan, etc.) will attend Lester MS. There is the possibility of this reverting to the current model if no construction contracts are approved that would require the 'swing space' at Ryukyu MS.

Details of the middle school attendance zones will be provided in an e-mail message that will go to all families with current 5th, 6th and 7th grade students. This will be sent on Monday – 25-FEB-2019.

High Schools: There is no plan for any redistricting of the high schools at this time. Attendance zones will remain as they are for the current year.

I hope that this message provides a more complete picture of where we are headed with the current construction programs we have in place for schools and the redistricting plans that will have to be utilized to provide for the best possible educational opportunities for our students. Questions can be directed to the undersigned via e-mail at

Michael J. Thompson
District Superintendent



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