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Next school year will be business as usual for students and faculty at La Maddalena naval base in Italy, in spite of the impending base closure, officials said.

On Nov. 23, Pentagon officials made the surprising announcement that the Navy eventually will close Naval Support Activity La Maddalena, which has assets to support nuclear submarines traveling from the U.S. to the base on the island of Sardinia.

U.S. and Italian government leaders agreed on a complete withdrawal of all U.S. forces and assets from La Maddalena — but have offered no timeline.

The issue prompted some to wonder: Will there be a school there in about six months?

Short answer: yes.

“We’re moving on with business as usual,” Stephanie El Sayed, principal of the combined elementary-middle school, said Friday.

La Madd, as it’s often called, is home to about 2,500 U.S. servicemembers and families assigned to the Naval Support Activity, Submarine Squadron 22, and the submarine tender USS Emory S. Land, the only U.S. ship based there. Roughly 150 local nationals hold jobs at the base.

The school population runs between 260 pupils and 270 pupils in from kindergarten through eighth grade, El Sayed.

Registration for the 2006-07 school year begins in March, and El Sayed said she anticipates roughly the same number of students as the projected and current enrollment.

School officials have no plans to close the school this coming school year, said David Ruderman, spokesman for the Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Europe.

“The Department of Defense has already disclosed its intention to close the base at some time in the future, but has released no timeline for that move. As a consequence, DODDS-E has made no recommendation to close its school at La Maddalena,” Ruderman said.

And for the time being, Navy officials don’t have any details on when the base will close.

“Any specific details regarding actions and timeline for the departure of U.S. Navy assets will be developed in time between the U.S. and Italian governments,” said Chief Petty Officer John Musser, a spokesman for Navy Region Europe.

“The U.S. Navy will vacate La Maddalena as soon as possible and in the right manner. No timeline has been established. The time line is going to be set by future U.S. Navy and Italian government discussions.”

Detailed information on how to register students is posted on the school’s Web site: http://www.lama-ems.eu.dodea.edu/.

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