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SEOUL — Department of Defense Dependents Schools peninsulawide are busy making room for next year’s influx of new students.

The district expects 628 more students, boosting its student body to about 4,700 this fall, or 222 beyond current capacity, said DODDS-Korea chief of staff Tony Harris during an interview last week.

To house the students, several projects are either in the works or slated to begin soon, Harris said.

At Yongsan Garrison, where officials expect about to be about 150 students beyond capacity, more than $600,000 of construction is planned this year. A two-story, eight-classroom building is under construction outside the high school’s Falcon Gym.

Harris said the building will be used by middle school students and can accommodate about 100 students at a time.

The Seoul American Middle School cafeteria will be expanded by 144 seats this summer, allowing the school to run two lunch periods daily instead of three, Harris said.

More parking spaces also are planned around Yongsan schools, he said. The parking lot near the athletic fields on the far end of Seoul American Elementary School will expand to about 50 spaces, he said.

And road work on 10th Corps Drive and 8th Army Boulevard will include an improved drop-off zone at the elementary school.

SAES will gain five classrooms from the middle school’s sixth-grade building.

At Camp Humphreys, the elementary school will begin taking middle school students. At Osan Air Base, meanwhile, Osan Middle School is under construction and slated to open in time for the 2009-2010 school year.

Plans are also in the works for the construction of a high school at Camp Humphreys in either 2011 or 2012.

The goal, Harris said, is to eventually run four elementary schools, two middle schools and a high school at Camp Humphreys.

Despite the increase in the number of students peninsulawide, Harris said the student to teacher ratio — 22 to 25 students per teacher in secondary school and 18 students per teacher in elementary school — will not change because the district will hire more teachers.

The expansions are taking place in the wake of a recent move by U.S. Forces Korea commander Gen. B.B. Bell, who doubled the number of command-sponsored positions in South Korea.

The increase placed additional demands on post infrastructure.

"Gen. Bell’s increase in command sponsorships required a huge increase in families coming to the peninsula," Harris said. "We didn’t have the facilities to accommodate them."

There is no need for immediate high school expansions, as the increased demand for space will be mostly at the elementary and middle school levels, Harris said.

"The increase of command sponsorships, especially in Seoul, is targeted to E-5s, E-6s and junior officers," he said. "They traditionally have elementary school and middle school students."


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