Ft. Knox to Build 21st Century Learning School

FT. KNOX, Ky. — Construction will begin next month on Kingsolver-Pierce Elementary School, a United States Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) 21st Century Education institution. The new school will replace and consolidate two older elementary schools, and will accommodate 635 students, grades PK-5.

According to DoDEA, 21st Century Teaching and Learning is a student-centered approach to learning that builds on Responsive and Inclusive Teaching to engage students through technology and the environment. As such, project architect RS&H of Columbus, Ohio designed the building’s renewable energy technologies and sustainable features and systems so that they serve as a hands-on learning tool for all students.

Upon completion, the single-story school complex will house learning hubs with flexible studios, a central commons area with performance stage, and both indoor and outdoor classrooms. A gymnasium, cafeteria, specialist rooms, music and art rooms, a learning impaired room, counseling areas, an information center will round out the student-occupied spaces. Meanwhile a new administrative, supply and storage areas, a state-of-the-art kitchen and teacher workrooms, will improve overall operations. Various related infrastructure such as the construction of new parking areas, a parent loop, bus loop, mechanical rooms, delivery areas and playgrounds.

Kingsolver-Pierce Elementary will also include multiple high-efficiency building systems, renewable energy technologies and sustainable features. According to RS&H, the 115,000-square-foot school will utilize a geothermal heat pump system, solar water heaters, clerestory windows, and solar tubes, as well as photovoltaic powered parking lot lights. These renewable sources coupled with energy efficient systems yield a net-zero energy “achievable” design. Additionally, the school’s design includes classrooms extending into outdoor space, energy dashboards, a green roof and ample daylighting. With all of these sustainable elements, the facility is on track to earn LEED for Schools Silver certification.

In keeping with the surrounding environment, the new $32 million school will feature a brick and limestone façade with site features that complement its context. Exterior projects and site improvements will also include new parking areas, mechanical rooms, delivery areas, and playgrounds.

The joint venture team of S. M. Wilson of St. Louis and AWA Business Corporation of Cincinnati has been selected by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District to build the new 115,000 square foot elementary school, which will be located in the Ft. Knox Historic District. The AWA Wilson JV, a SBE 8(a), HubZone-approved Mentor-Protégé joint venture, will provide general contracting services for the $32 million project.

As the new school will be constructed on the site of the current Kingsolver Elementary, work will also involve minor demolition of the existing structure, which will remain open through the construction process. The original structures will be demolished following the transition into the new school. Construction will begin in June 2014 and is expected to last through November 2015.