Story and Photos by Staff Sgt. Jerry Griffis, U.S. Special Operations Command Europe
Croatian President Ivo Josipovic (far left) greets Seabees of NMCB 1, Udbina, Croatia, Sept. 17. Josipovic visited Ubina to inspect the Little Bear Kindergarten, a Seabee renovation project with resources provided by the Humanitarian Civic Assistance Project.
Renovations are nearing completion in Udbina, Croatia, where Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 1 have been hard at work on local projects.
For the kindergarten class of Little Bear Kindergarten in the municipality of Udbina, the chance to receive an education in a facility with adequate space is about to become a reality.
In coordination with the U.S. Embassy, United States European Command and the Humanitarian Civic Assistance Project, a portion of a building located within the town has been renovated to provide more space for the children in the small municipality.
Croatian President Ivo Josipovic toured the municipality and the site of the new school, Sept. 17, to see the progress being made. NMCB 1 Seabees have been working on the renovation since June.
The current detachment of Seabees took over the project in August after the previous battalion replaced all old plumbing and wiring. The renovation of the kindergarten building is part of a project that also includes a new waterline installed earlier this year.
Diana Marsic, coordinator, Humanitarian Assistance Program for the U.S. Embassy said, "When the Seabees came to Croatia to do the site survey, they knew we were going to do the waterline project, and I wrote up the proposal for the kindergarten renovation."
The Seabees solicited for an additional project and the municipality informed them that the kindergarten needed renovation. The waterline project was funded with $177,000 and an additional $110,000 was allocated for the renovation after the proposal was approved.
Seabees from NMCB 1 used the opportunity to supplement their training and build on their skills by renovating the kindergarten. They also worked with local Croatians.
The projects for the community have been well received by the citizens of Udbina.
Ivan Pesut, mayor of Udbina, said, "We are thankful to the U.S. Embassy, [U.S. Forces] and to the American people for all of the donations and for their help with restoration of the water pipeline system.
"All this is of great help for us especially with rebuilding of our kindergarten, considering the fact that now we have up to 25 children waiting to be admitted into kindergarten. Of course all of this is very important to the local community."