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New base school raises Okinawa City eyebrows

Date Posted: 2008-08-15

Announcement that a new middle school on Kadena Air Base will open later this month is stirring emotions in Okinawa City, where a newly constructed elementary school serves more students with a fraction of the space.

The sprawling Ryukyu Middle School set to open on Kadena August 25th is described by the Department of Defense Dependent School s as the largest in the Pacific. The school, which is to serve 600 students, is 161,800 square meters. Construction on Ryukyu Middle School began in 2004, and was completed in March at a cost of •4 billion. The school was paid for by the Japanese government.

Okinawa City officials are complaining they have to do more, with less, due to budget constraints imposed by the central government. A newly completed elementary school in the Hiyane area will serve 645 students, and was built at a cost of •2.5 billion. The new school is one-sixth the size of the one on Kadena Air Base, with only 25,500 square meters space.

DODDS says there are 4,200 children studying in schools on base in Okinawa. DODDS says itís necessary for a variety of facilities, including a 400m track, swimming pool, softball and soccer fields, night lighting, and spectator seating to provide a well rounded educational experience.

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