Boeblingen school safety violations bring scrutiny
BOEBLINGEN, Germany — School and garrison officials on Monday plan to visit an aging Stuttgart school building, scrutinize safety violations there and start making plans to fix them.
Nine violations were listed after a Sept. 6 visit to Boeblingen Elementary-Middle School by an Army Garrison Stuttgart inspector. Eight of the violations were cited 10 months earlier but not fixed.
The Bavaria District and garrison officials will be looking for more details on the violations and discussing how repairs would be paid for, according to Dennis Bohannon, a spokesman with Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Europe.
“Regardless of who has the ultimate authority on it, from DODDS-Europe’s perspective, if (an inspector) comes into our schools and finds discrepancies, they’ve got our attention, and action will be taken on those discrepancies,” Bohannon said.
“We’ve known for a very long time that it’s a very old building and was never meant to be a school, and we’ve been fixing everything we possibly can.”
The 70-year-old, four-story building on Panzer Casern was built for use by the German military. For years it has been used as an elementary school. This year, the school was renovated to accept middle school pupils.
Last year, about 400 children in kindergarten through sixth grade were enrolled. The enrollment this year increased to 525 after seventh- and eighth-graders started going there.
Jeff Young, a spokesman for Installation Management Agency-Europe, which operates the garrison, said DODDS-Europe and not the garrison is responsible for paying for the repairs.
“DODDS-Europe is the sole funding source to meet the appropriate safety standards for their students,” Young said.
“Our maintenance responsibility lies in garrison housing areas and community facilities. DODDS’ responsibility is school facilities.
“We believe that’s a reasonable approach to taking care of our soldiers and families,” Young said.
Earlier this week, Stars and Stripes obtained a copy of the Sept. 6 fire safety inspection report. Among the violations: kindergarten students and first- and second-graders attending classes on the fourth floor without a separate fire escape, lack of fire doors and sprinklers, and inadequate fire-detection equipment in bathrooms and the kitchen.
Bohannon said details of the violations would be examined on Monday. Among them are whether the elevator was found to be in violation because it did not have a telephone or because it was not handicapped-accessible, and if the kitchen fire detection deficiencies were minor or major.
“All discrepancies will be taken care of to the best of everyone’s ability,” Bohannon said. “We continue to take safety very seriously, and prove that regularly with our fire inspections, fire drills and fire awareness.”