Haweja Elementary School reopens after five-year reconstruction

| January 6, 2011 | 0 Comments
Lt. Col. Andrew Ulrich (right), commander, 1st Bn., 14th Inf. Regt., 2nd BCT, 25th ID, explains to the Kirkuk City Council the work that Capt. Tony Smith, commander, Co. A, 1st Bn., 14th Inf. Regt., 2nd BCT, did in making it possible for the Haweja Elementary School to reopen, Dec. 19.

Lt. Col. Andrew Ulrich (right), commander, 1st Bn., 14th Inf. Regt., 2nd BCT, 25th ID, explains to the Kirkuk City Council the work that Capt. Tony Smith, commander, Co. A, 1st Bn., 14th Inf. Regt., 2nd BCT, did in making it possible for the Haweja Elementary School to reopen, Dec. 19.

Story and Photo by
Pvt. Alyxandra McChesney
1st Brigade Combat Team Task Force Public Affairs, 1st Infantry Division, U.S. Division-North

 

CONTIGENCY OPERATING SITE WARRIOR, Iraq — The Haweja Students of the Al Taufal Elementary School lined up the entrance of their newly reconstructed school, while clapping to celebrate the building’s grand opening, Dec. 19, in the Kirkuk province.

Lt. Col. Andrew Ulrich, commander, 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, and Capt. Tony Smith, commander, Company A, 1st Bn., 14th Inf. Regt., 2nd BCT, joined members of the Department of State’s Kirkuk Provincial Reconstruction Team at the school’s opening.

“This was truly a team effort that, although it was a long time in coming, shows how we can cooperate together to make Kirkuk better,” said Doug Teper, a governance advisor for the PRT, who served as one of the leads for the school project.

The five-year project to renovate the school required the cooperation of the Iraqi government, the Kirkuk Provincial Council, Iraqi Security Forces, the PRT and the “Golden Dragons” of 1st Bn., 14th Inf. Regt., 2nd BCT.

During Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005, insurgents severely damaged the school during an attack. Iraqi government officials surveyed the school soon after the attack, and determined it needed to be demolished and rebuilt from the ground up.

“This school and the paved roads leading to all of the schools are very important for Haweja,” said Jussain Abo Sadam, city council chairman. “Lt. Col. Ulrich and Capt. Smith, we all want to say, ‘thank you.’”

The U.S. Army funded the project through the Commander’s Emergency Response Program. The PRT worked closely with the Kirkuk Provincial Council and Haweja district officials to ensure the process of distributing money for the project went smoothly and according to proper CERP procedures.

“Part of our mission in the region is to find ways to allow economic growth and political stability, while encouraging ethnic and tribal rivals to work together peacefully,” said Daniel Fennell, the public diplomacy officer of the Kirkuk PRT. “The PRT was able to help get central planning approval for the project, and to find a middle ground when provincial planners and Haweja district officials disagreed on how the project should be carried out.”

Since 2003, the U.S. government has provided funds to renovate or reconstruct 135 schools in Kirkuk province, Fennell said, adding that the project helped to create good relations with the citizens of Haweja.

“We have built a very strong relationship with the U.S. and we will work hard to keep that relationship,” Sadam said.

“Our focus is on the economy and schools, to help Kirkuk in the long term,” Smith said, adding that the project is consistent with the overall focus of Operation New Dawn, which will help Iraq take the lead for security.

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Category: Community Relations, Deployed Forces, News

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