An Iraqi labor crew works on one of the buildings comprising the al-Nassir School in al-Buaytha, March 25. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Kevin Stabinsky)
FOB KALSU, Iraq (May 16, 2008) – The al-Nassir elementary school in al-Buaytha, Iraq, is getting a face lift. The school, which teaches grades one through six, is being refurbished to improve the quality of life for students and teachers.
The school was damaged by insurgents before they were driven out by coalition forces late 2007.
Much of the credit goes to Soldiers of 1st Platoon, Company D, 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, who were some of the first Soldiers to arrive in the area as part of the troop surge last year.
With the restoration of peace and security in the area, citizens realized the need to restore the school as well. So did the government of Iraq, which took an interest in the area.
The GoI has even sent a representative to al-Buaytha – showing that Iraqi government representatives recognize security has returned to the area, said 1st Lt. Bryan Deminico, platoon leader.
In addition, the ministry of education is taking a more active role by physically repairing the local educational infrastructure, said Deminico, a native of Hollywood, Fla.
On May 1, workers from the MoE sent a surveying team to assess what additional repairs the school would need. Four days later, another group of workers arrived to begin working on the school.
The school, which employs one headmaster and 17 teachers who instruct 420 children from the communities of al-Buaytha and Arab Jabour, is comprised of four different buildings.
The work will augment improvements previously made by the platoon, who provided more than $17,000 in funds. These funds resulted in repair of the eastern building, providing a new roof, fixing all large holes in the walls, installing a new water pump system, redoing floors, providing new windows, new ceiling fans for all classrooms and a new paint job for inside and outside, Deminico said.
Similar work will continue with GoI workers. Deminico said they are fixing major roof problems by sealing and fixing all cracks. The workers are also tasked to clean the inside of classrooms, paint the interior and exterior, fix minor electrical wiring issues and totally restore the chipped and cracked concrete courtyard area, he added.
Once completing the southern classroom building and the office-administration building, any leftover government funding will go towards the western building.
Besides displaying visible improvements, the restoration also shows the community their government has an interest in procuring for them. Seeing MoE employees in the area is a great sign that security has improved.
“I am happy to see that the ministry of education is supporting this area now,” Deminico said. “It is a good sign and it boosts the confidence of the community.”
Deminico said education at the local community level is the key to local security and success. For that he is grateful the government’s assistance in making al-Nassir School the epicenter of education within the community of al-Buaytha.
“It is a true team effort between U.S. Forces and the Iraqi government,” said Staff Sgt. Phillip Moore, section sergeant.