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Saturday, November 7, 2009

U.S. Navy Seabees, Local Residents Build School Together

By Lt.j.g. Theresa Donnelly, Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines Public Affairs

LANAO DEL SUR, Philippines – With the help of local contractors and school officials, service members from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 1, assigned to Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines, are in the final stages of building classrooms at the Lanao Agricultural College.

“It is a wonderful feeling we can assist the community and help build the school. It has been an honor to work with the local contractors and the school superintendent to make this project happen,” said Construction Electrician 1st Class Michael Kelley from New Castle, PA, the project supervisor.

The JSOTF-P Seabees are working side-by-side with the community, as two local electrical engineers and two staff members are also working on the project. Additionally, the school donated building supplies.

Reconstruction began last June for the two-building project, which includes the college’s main 5800 square-foot building and a 1000 square-foot science building. The team is currently working on dividing the main building into six classrooms and constructing a separate bathroom facility.

The project also includes a complete septic system, electrical power distribution, lighting, fans, and a generator.

“We are very happy our people are working together on this school with the U.S. forces. Our people will greatly benefit from this project,” said Jasmine B. Asum, the head high school instructor.

Based out of Gulfport, Miss., the NMCB 1 Seabees arrived in Aug., relieving Naval Mobile Construction (NMCB) 40 to continue building the school.

Working 12-hour shifts, six days per week, crews are working non-stop to finish the project. Plans are in place to celebrate the opening of the buildings with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“The crew here and local contractors working on this project have been absolutely phenomenal. They have such pride in their work and we constantly hear from the school officials what a great job they are doing,” said a U.S. Army Special Forces officer-in-charge for the Marawi area.

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