By Joe Marci
Middle East District
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently handed over the keys to a new law library at the University of Kandahar in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The project, which began in late 2012, will offer students and scholars a first rate facility in which to study Afghanistan’s legal codes. The Kandahar Law Library is another example of USACE and U.S. Force - Afghanistan partnering efforts to build capacity in all fields through support of the Kandahar University and its various departments.
The three story, 18,000 square foot building located on the University campus cost approximately $3.6 million and was funded with Afghan Infrastructure Fund money under the Rule of Law Sector. The building incorporates green concepts including day lighting, allowing for natural light to meet most of the facilities daytime internal lighting needs.
Maj. Jeff Ward, the officer in charge of the Middle East District’s Afghanistan Area Office said that although he’s worked on many projects for the Corps during his time in Afghanistan, this one stands out.
“Establishing rule of law is a key step in modernizing Afghanistan, this library is a key step in helping establish a legitimate justice system,” said Ward.
Although other departments at the University had libraries, until now, there wasn’t one dedicated to the study of law and students had to study wherever they could find space, often outside on the ground.
“The students have been awaiting the opening of this library since construction started,” said Nikki Schmitt, Joint Program Integration Office Afghan Infrastructure Fund program manager. “When we were visiting the site, they could be seen sitting in groups outside the future law library studying.”
U.S. Agency for International Development has provided the furnishings under an independent procurement to provide the Afghans a complete, ready to use facility.
The project consists of the library, administrative building and associated utility support and was officially turned over the University Chancellor in April 2014.
Middle East District