On September 14 students, parents and staff at Kingsolver Elementary came together for a much anticipated ribbon-cutting ceremony of the new state-of-the-art school at Fort Knox, Kentucky.
The Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA), which is opening 14 new 21st century concept schools around the world this year, welcomed students to Kingsolver in August.
"There will be thousands of students that will walk through these halls and will ultimately impact the future of our world," said Dr. Linda Curtis, principal deputy director and associate director of academics for DoDEA, during the ceremony.
"This new school will be a place where students will build their capacities and their aspirations with the support of their teachers, administrators, command support and great parents and students."
The original Kingsolver Elementary, named after William E. Kingsolver--the first superintendent of Fort Knox schools from 1941 to 1954--was drastically different than the modern facility students are learning in today.
"I think it's safe to say that the world in school design and construction were much different then," said Curtis reminding students and faculty how much has changed since those cinder block structures from bygone days.
The 21st century school concept includes adaptable neighborhoods that include learning studios, teacher collaboration space, and open-area common spaces designed for student-centered learning. This type of innovative learning environment coupled with the educational green features is a game-changer for today's students.
Students have the unique opportunity to learn about sustainability from the building around them. Every aspect of the new 115,000 square-foot school was designed with green features in mind--from energy dashboards that allow students to see how much water or energy their class is using to a composter that turns kitchen trash into plant food.
"This 21st century school is a teaching tool itself and inside you will see systems and building components exposed to provide students with real world examples they can relate to, providing them with hands-on learning experiences in science, technology, engineering and math," said Curtis.
"We're also very proud that Kingsolver Elementary is a LEED Silver certified facility with sustainable design strategies, energy efficient lighting and heating and cooling systems. We've even incorporated solar water heating, food waste extractor systems and daylight sensor light level systems that provide a comfortable, economical and efficient learning environment for students."
The $38.9 million project, managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District, was constructed by AWA Wilson Joint Venture to meet the requirements for LEED Silver certification meaning every aspect of the building's design, construction techniques and its future use was taken into consideration, from using high-efficiency toilets to low-VOC paint on the walls.
USACE Project Engineer Steve Skaggs said no detail was overlooked on the project. "Our design partner worked closely with DoDEA Americas and the Kentucky School District, our partners at Fort Knox, and USACE Engineering and Construction Divisions to ensure a facility that is much more than just a building, but is a cutting-edge, sustainable facility that will enhance the learning experience for all of the students who attend," he said. "It almost makes you wish you were a student again, because this school is remarkable."