Stuttgart seeks funds for school repairs
October 13, 2006
BOEBLINGEN, Germany — The Army Garrison Stuttgart commander said Thursday that he hopes results of last month’s inspection of an aging school building — which revealed nine safety violations — will help secure funding to fix the problems, or possibly to have a new school built.
Col. Kenneth G. Juergens said he requested the inspection, which was performed Sept. 6 by a garrison fire inspector, of the 70-year-old Boeblingen Elementary-Middle School.
Repairs to the school, however, must be paid for by the Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Europe, Juergens said, adding that Stuttgart was just one community requesting funds be spent on its schools.
“We’re going to forward up the findings to DODDS-Europe for their inspection,” Juergens said. “We’re working with them to see the violations get fixed.
“There was nothing to condemn the building. They are all doable fixes.”
Dennis Bohannon, a DODDS-Europe spokesman, said Thursday that school system officials declined to comment for the story until they had a chance to review the inspection report.
Juergens said he saw the report for the first time on Thursday morning.
About 525 pupils attend the four-story school, which was built in 1936 for use by the German military.
Among the violations cited in the report: kindergarten, first- and second-graders attending some classes on the fourth floor without having a separate exit, and lack of sprinkler system and fire doors.
The building was recently renovated, and this year started hosting seventh- and eighth-grade pupils, which increased its enrollment from 400 children to 525. Some parents said that the newly crowded conditions made them wonder if the building was safe.
They also noted that some of the violations were cited nearly a year ago but had not been addressed.
“It’s an unreasonable amount of time to get a response on something people feel strongly about,” said Susan Kellett-Forsyth, chairwoman of the school’s Student Advisory Committee.
Kellett-Forsyth said that since it appeared that Stuttgart, home of the U.S. European Command, will continue as a military community for a number of years, it would make sense to invest in the school.
She added that she felt the school was not dangerous.
“I personally don’t think there’s a high risk,” Kellett-Forsyth said. “If I did, then I’d pull my kids out of the school.”