Osan to get 21st century school

by Andrew W. Davenport
Chief of Base Construction

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Editor's note: This is a small piece about one of the many collaborative efforts in creating highly-sustainable quality of life facilities at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. For more information, see the linked article on other projects the 51st Civil Engineer Squadron and U.S. Army Corp of Engineers Far East District are working on.

The Osan Community is set to receive a new state of the art elementary school facility. The new elementary school will be the first of its kind in Korea and second in the Pacific Air Forces. It's designed to accommodate the new Multi-age Community 21st Century program.

"The MAC-21 teachers wanted the students to see the new facility and visualize how they could connect what they are already doing to future learning in an authentic 21st Century facility," said  Mona Morgan, Osan Elementary School principal.

MAC-21 initiative provides schools with greater flexibility to tailor the learning environment to the needs of each student. The classrooms are purposefully structured to contain wide span of ages and foster community-like learning environment. Additional design improvements includes: increased natural lighting of the facility through skylights and windows and improved acoustics in a classroom to reduce noise pollution.

"The MAC-21 concept grew out of the desire to bring students from 1st to 5th grade together to create a community of learners," said Morgan. "Most importantly, to create a learning environment that allowed students to implement the 4 C's: Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, and Critical Thinking."

The new 130,000 square foot building will accommodate teachers, staff and students from Pre-K through 5th grade. It will be based on the 21st Century Education initiative that was outlined in the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act which will seek to foster a productive learning environment. 

On Jan. 20, The 51st Civil Engineer Squadron, in collaboration with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Far East District, invited students and teachers of Osan Elementary School to the construction site of the new elementary school.  The students and teachers were briefed on the project's progress and were given a guided tour of the active construction site.

"It's awesome when we get the chance to showcase all the hard work that goes into the construction process," said Staff Sgt. James Kennedy II, 51st CES construction inspector. "With a project this expansive it's rare to stop construction for the day so we are glad the children are enjoying themselves and taking full advantage of the opportunity."

The success of the event was attributed to the combined partnership and effort of the Army Corps of Engineers, Far East District and the 51st Civil Engineer Squadron.  It displays the strength of Team Osan by providing for service members and their families. The new Osan Elementary School is due to open its doors in August 2016.

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