With cranes and crews working away in the background, partners joined Wednesday for a ceremonial groundbreaking for the new Spangdahlem Elementary School being built at Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany.
“This (21st-century) building is a demonstration of the Department of Defense and DoDEA’s commitment to us and our children,” said Department of Defense Education Activity - Europe West District Superintendent Jason Ter Horst addressing project partners, press and a selection of Spangdahlem Elementary students, faculty and parents.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Europe District is managing construction of the school in close partnership with DoDEA, German construction partners LBB Trier, the U.S. Air Force and other partners.
“We’re very proud of the opportunity to deliver a new elementary school for the children of Airmen and other personnel stationed here,” said U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Europe District DoDEA Program Manager Steve Ross, who then turned to the active construction behind him. “I know it doesn’t look like much now, but when the team is done there will be a beautiful modern, approximately 140,000 square-foot school with learning neighborhoods, sustainable features throughout and greenspace incorporated for outdoor learning and engagement where the more than 650 students and faculty can thrive.”
Ter Horst and Ross were joined in giving remarks by incoming Spangdahlem Elementary School Principal Monika Kerner, 52nd Fighter Wing Commander Col. Kevin Crofton and German regional construction office head Wilfried Hoffman.
The speakers were all joined by additional project partners and a select three Spangdahlem Elementary School students to do the honors of ceremonially shoveling dirt to “break ground” to celebrate the project. Though work has been underway since June, with crews making excellent progress, the ceremony provided an opportunity for project partners to join and celebrate.
The new Spangdahlem Elementary School is designed to be part of DoDEA's 21st-century school program, which transforms DoDEA classrooms into spaces that employ technology in ways that improve teaching and learning. It will leverage a neighborhood concept that encompasses a central hub of learning studios, a teacher collaboration area, small group rooms and one-to-one learning rooms. Moveable walls are used for maximizing flexible space and its adaptability will accommodate future changes as programs evolve and grow.
In addition to supporting the 21st-century teaching and learning model, the future school will incorporate sustainability and energy-saving concepts. These features include extensive use of natural light and energy-efficient lighting systems; window glazing to allow natural light in the building and outdoor views; efficient interior and exterior lighting systems, pumps and fans that result in annual energy cost saving when compared to a standard design; and low-flow plumbing that is estimated to save thousands of gallons of water per year.