By Army Staff Sgt. Alex Licea
Special to American Forces Press Service
March 12, 2009 - District leaders, school administrators, Iraqi security forces and Multinational Division Baghdad paratroopers celebrated the completion of a school renovation March 3 in eastern Baghdad's Rusafa district. The construction of a new art facility was the focus for the renovations in the Al-Moutasam kindergarten. Other refurbishments included new plumbing and electrical systems, new classroom doors and windows, and a fresh coat of paint.
The art facility is a sign that Iraqi education officials are developing educational programs outside of general subjects, officials said.
"This is a great thing that we are seeing this school being renovated in our district," said Alaa Radey, an official from the Rusafa higher education ministry. "This is a sign of progression in our educational systems with the grand opening of this school's art facility. This is a great thing not just for Rusafa and Baghdad, but for all of Iraq."
Iraqi security forces and 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment paratroopers attended the event as a sign of partnership with the district and its citizens.
"The turnout of people today is phenomenal," said Army Sgt. 1st Class Donald Workman, a Gainesville, Fla., native assigned to the nonlethal effects section of the squadron. "This is the best school opening yet, and it's a good sign that great things are coming to Iraq."
The district's education department is in the planning stages for several projects, including the construction of more than 30 new schools throughout the district and the renovation of more than 70 existing schools.
(Army Staff Sgt. Alex Licea serves with the 82nd Airborne Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team public affairs office.)