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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Another 43 Iraqi schools funded for rehabilitation

By LuAnne Fantasia

BAGHDAD, Iraq (Army News Service, Aug. 10, 2005) – Iraqi and U.S. government officials announced Aug. 6 that contracts have been awarded for the renovation of 43 Iraqi schools.

As part of the Iraq Relief Reconstruction Fund, more than $1.3 million has been set aside to continue a nationwide school repair program.

The renovations, scheduled to take about six weeks, will be complete just in time to allow approximately 18,000 Iraqi school children to attend refurbished schools this school year.

Repairs include rehabilitating sanitary facilities, and electrical and mechanical systems, as well as structural repairs to schools in Karbala, Dahuk, Najaf, Basrah, and Qadisiyah.

“We’ll keep working toward clean, safe and healthier learning environments for the Iraqi children,” said Karen Durham-Aguilera, Director of Programs at the Project and Contracting Office, Baghdad.

“Since June of last year, 656 of the total 800 schools in reconstruction have been completed,” Durham-Aguilera said. “Renovation costs for each school averages about $30,000.”

According to Durham-Aguilera, the projects provide employment opportunities for Iraqi citizens.

“The contracts are competitive and they’re awarded directly to Iraqi contractors. Collectively, the remaining 43 projects will employ approximately 800 Iraqi workers,” Durham-Aguilera said.

The projects were identified and approved by the Ministry of Education and local governorates, in coordination with the U.S. government, according to Durham-Aguilera.

At Iraq’s transition to sovereignty June 2004, there were just over 200 Reconstruction projects started. Today, there are more than 2,700 projects underway, with nearly 1,600 completed.

(Editor’s Note: LuAnne Fantasia is the Deputy Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Gulf Region Division.)

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