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Steve Votecky, Department of Defense Dependents Schools liaison officer for Grafenwöhr and Vilseck.

Steve Votecky, Department of Defense Dependents Schools liaison officer for Grafenwöhr and Vilseck. (Seth Robson / S&S)

GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — Military leaders will consider building a temporary middle school this year to serve students until a permanent facility opens in 2008, Grafenwöhr Garrison commander Col. Brian T. Boyle told a town hall meeting at Vilseck last week.

The softball fields near Grafenwöhr Elementary School would be considered as a place for the temporary school, Boyle said at the meeting on Wednesday. New softball fields have been built next to the Grafenwöhr Fitness Center, which is due to open in March.

Grafenwöhr Garrison spokeswoman Kathy Gibbs said officials are looking at a wide range of options to educate children of soldiers who will arrive over the next few years.

Grafenwöhr is set to expand from a 1,000-soldier garrison with 2,000 military family members (according to an April 2005 census) to a brigade-sized facility with 4,500 active-duty soldiers and 7,000 family members.

Officials predict Vilseck’s student population will swell over the summer from 900 students at the middle/high school to about 1,400 students. At Grafenwöhr, the student population will rise over the next few years from about 300 elementary school kids to 600 middle school kids and 800 elementary school kids.

The first influx of soldiers will come this summer, with the arrival of the 11th Chemical Company. The arrival of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment Stryker Brigade at Vilseck over the summer will also have an impact on schooling at Grafenwöhr because some families will live in off-post areas in the Grafenwöhr school district, Gibbs said.

The temporary middle school is one of several school options, including adding temporary classrooms to Grafenwöhr Elementary School and using vacant on-post buildings as classrooms. There is also an option to reconfigure the Grafenwöhr and Vilseck school districts depending on where kids live off-post, Gibbs said.

Steve Votecky, Department of Defense Dependents Schools liaison officer for Grafenwöhr and Vilseck, said the goal was to have the middle school or temporary elementary school classrooms in place by Aug. 1 and open for the new school year on Aug. 28.

Temporary classrooms might also be installed at the Vilseck middle/high school. The classrooms will be needed to house students when the school is renovated later this year, he said.

New elementary and middle schools in the center of the off-post Netzaberg housing development are not scheduled to open until 2008, he said.

“With the population we have coming in we need to put in temporary classrooms,” he said.

“The original proposal was to have temporary classrooms at Grafenwöhr to augment the elementary school and also at Vilseck at the middle school/ high school, but we are going back to seeing if it makes more sense to create a new middle school at Grafenwöhr,” he said.

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Seth Robson is a Tokyo-based reporter who has been with Stars and Stripes since 2003. He has been stationed in Japan, South Korea and Germany, with frequent assignments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Australia and the Philippines.
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