A $65 million dollar school is coming to Guantanamo Bay, suggesting that even if all detainees are released, the base isn’t going anywhere, Military.com reports.
“Absent a detention facility and even following the eventual demise of the Castro regime, the strategic capability provided by U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo remains essential for executing national priorities throughout the Caribbean, Latin America and South America,” Air Force General Douglas Fraser told Congress in March 2012, according to Time Magazine.
Calculated on a per-pupil basis, the school is slated to become one of the world’s most expensive–at almost $250,000 dollars per pupil, with space for up to 275 pupils. In Florida, the cost per student to build a school is only between $20,000 and $30,000 dollars. The funding is part of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015.
In comparison, the prison at Guantanamo Bay itself costs around $2.7 million per prisoner annually, according to a Pentagon comptroller report. This supports a staff of just over 2,000 members, as well as a court system. Since the report was published, more prisoners have been released, likely upping the per prisoner cost to approximately $3.1 million. Other costs are difficult to calculate, as some are classified.
Although known primarily for its infamous prison full of detainees from the War on Terror, Guantanamo Bay, located on the southeastern tip of Cuba and leased since 1903, actually has around 6,000 residents. The Navy base in its entirety is 45-square-miles and includes homes suburban homes reminiscent of Florida, an airport, a seaport, a McDonald’s, and more. Two U.S. government schools already exist on the base.
Yet it’s unlikely that recent changes in Cuba-U.S. relations will speed up Obama’s plans for closure, which have been thwarted time and again since he originally stated his intentions in 2009 to close the prison within a year. Travel restrictions will be eased and diplomatic relations thawed, but the embargo cannot be lifted without a vote from Congress. And in the meantime, the Cuban government still refuses to accept lease payments for the property in protest.
Construction of the school will be completed around April 2018 and will include video-broadcasting, wireless technology, LED lighting, and room enough for 50 faculty and administration members.
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