Partners gather to celebrate groundbreaking of 21st-century high school at Ramstein Air Base

USACE Europe District
Published March 29, 2018
A diverse group gathered at Ramstein Air Base in a gym to break ground on a new 21st-century Department of Defense Education Activity - Europe high school March 28.

"Today, at (Ramstein High School) we're embarking on our own adventure. We are breaking ground on a new high school building that will not just be any old high school,” said Amanda Daly, student council president. “The students of Ramstein will be in a state-of-the-art facility. Every advantage provided by our new school will be utilized by our wonderful faculty and students. The new building will be more than a back drop for our learning; it will be an integral part of it."

Partners collaborating to make the future $98.8 million school possible include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District, DoDEA-Europe, the U.S. Air Force, the Federal Office for Federal Construction (ABB), and the German regional construction office (LBB).

"Today, we celebrate together the groundbreaking ceremony for Ramstein High School, which is the largest project managed by our office in our school program," said Norbert Hoebel, head of LBB-Kaiserslautern office. "Ramstein High School is such a huge and complex project that it has to be implemented in various construction phases."

The three-story building with the capacity for 1,100 students will include eight learning neighborhoods, science laboratories, career and technical education (CTE) laboratories, JROTC classroom, gymnasium and other athletic support spaces, performance area with stage, and shared common spaces.

As part of the 21st-century educational facility design, a traditional school is transformed into a global classroom concept. The school building becomes a teaching tool with systems and building components exposed to provide real-world relevance and examples to reinforce the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculum.

The 21st-century school design provides student-centered facilities and the flexibility and adaptability will accommodate multiple learning modalities, which will allow future changes as programs evolve and grow.

"It's truly magnificent when the building can be an active member of the education experience,” said Brig. Gen. William Graham, commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, North Atlantic Division. "I want to thank you all for the collaborative partnership that's going to deliver this magnificent facility."

The project will also construct site improvements to include renovation of the existing stadium and football field, bus loading and unloading areas, parking, signage, and walkways.

"The new school will be used as a tool. It will be a resource to enhance the learning that takes place within its walls," said Sharon O'Donnell, Ramstein High School principal. "Collectively, the individuals in this room have dreamed, planned, designed, collaborated, and problem solved. Through this process we have a strong sense of teamwork and a purpose, which is to serve our students."

The facility will not only serve the students, but it will also have sustainable and energy-saving concepts intended to save taxpayer dollars and to help preserve environmental resources for future generations. The features include low-flow plumbing reducing water consumption by more than 30 percent. Also, because of energy-conservation measures, the building is expected to consume 52 percent less energy than a typical baseline building.

"I think (the current school) could definitely use some improvements and I definitely look forward to a new school,” said ninth-grader Angela Rankis, potential graduate of the new high school.

The construction actually began in January and the new Ramstein High School is expected to be complete and in full use by the fall of 2021.

"The benefits to our students will be unlimited,” said O’Donnell. “On behalf of the generations who will walk the halls of the brand new Ramstein High School, I thank you for the importance you have placed on the leaders of tomorrow."