U.S. Ambassador opens school renovation thanks to American military support

A number of disadvantaged young Armenians in Gyumri now have better living conditions, thanks to efforts financed by the U.S. government. On November 25, 2015, U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Richard Mills, Jr., opened the newly renovated Gyumri Child Care and Protection Boarding School #1.

The undertaking was funded with $360,000 provided by the U.S. Embassy’s Office of Defense Cooperation. The project was implemented after the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs identified the building’s renovation as a priority project.

Housing 160 children, the Gyumri Children Care and Protection Boarding School #1 is the only boarding school in the region that educates students from socially vulnerable families. The newly renovated facility will also serve as the new regional family training facility, with a focus on returning more children to safer homes.

“One of the best aspects of my job as U.S. Ambassador to Armenia is attending events like this. I am proud of the robust partnership that we have established between the U.S. Department of Defense and the Government of Armenia,” Ambassador Mills said.  “We truly value our friendship with Armenia and stand ready, as a partner, to provide whatever help and assistance is needed to improve the lives of the Armenian people. Working together, as true partners, we can ensure the secure, peaceful, and prosperous future the Armenian people deserve.”

The renovation saw an addition of an exterior “greenhouse-like” corridor that now links two separate buildings. This new passageway provides a warm hallway for children during the extreme cold winters. Bathrooms were also renovated to ensure better sanitary conditions for the children.

The school also received a variety of equipment and furniture thanks to an $80,000 donation from the U.S. European Command’s Excess Property Program. In total, the donation included nine containers of school furniture, appliances, and a minivan to transport the children to the different arts and sports centers.

Contracting and quality assurance oversight for the project was conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Caucasus Resident Office in Tbilisi, Georgia. The actual construction work was done by CESCO Construction Company of Yerevan. By using local contractors, the project also provided jobs for the area’s residents.

In total, the U.S. Department of Defense’s Humanitarian Assistance Program has provided $4.5 million in improvements to Armenia’s health and education infrastructure since 2009. The U.S. Embassy Office of Defense Cooperation is committed to improving access to medical services and education throughout Armenia.