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Posted 4/20/2017

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By Katie Newton, public affairs


Barkley Elementary School at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, is unlike any typical cinder block school from yesteryear. The new 21st Century Department of Defense Education Activities school at Fort Campbell, Kentucky is a leading-edge facility that has set the bar with its award winning design and unique green educational features.

The $45.2 million dollar two-story school will welcome students for the 2017 school year into a modern, adaptable and open-concept learning environment. The innovative design, architectural features and atypical construction methods of the 142,000-square-foot school led to a more complicated project though, which required a top notch Quality Control team to oversee the project.

“The design was so complex,” said Danny Phelps, quality assurance representative, Fort Campbell Resident Office. “I’ve never seen that level of architectural detail in an elementary school. It’s unbelievable.” 

When facilities are designed and built differently than typical construction methods it makes for extra challenges. At Barkley Elementary, those challenges included using Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) for the structure, geothermal wells, and solar panels to name a few. 

Phelps, who has worked closely with the project since dirt turned more than three years ago, says the success of the construction is all due to the quality control—or QC—team onsite.  

“The quality of that structure wouldn’t be what it is without one of the best functioning QC teams I’ve ever worked with. They were proactively engaged from day one,” said Phelps. “If there was a design issue they had it resolved due to the QC team doing it by the process.”

The team Phelps is referring to includes Quality Control Manager Dave Tucker from the SBH & CORE Joint Venture along with his team of professionals including Rex White, Michael Hodge, Mark Walker and Jason Fitzwater. 

Dale Charles, quality assurance team leader, Fort Campbell Resident Office adds that the USACE team onsite played a large hand in helping get it right. 

“The team worked hard to resolve issues of a challenging design and still provide a quality facility,” said Charles. “Danny was the glue that kept the project team together from the first shovel of dirt to final inspection. It’s a facility the team can look back and be proud of.” 

Phelps said in his 14 years with the Corps there has only been a handful of projects with this level of customer satisfaction and no warranty issues. “My satisfaction comes from a few warranty issues because everything works exactly as it was designed to work,” said Phelps. “With minimum warranty issues in one to two years on a project you have absolutely slam dunked it.”

USACE turned over the keys to the facility in March and after furniture is installed school staff will begin preparing for the school year in their new space. The facility will provide a learning environment that accommodates multiple learning and teaching styles as it features nine different neighborhoods for Pre-k through fifth grade. Each neighborhood is made up of a central learning hub surrounded by four learning studios, a group room, a one-to-one room and a staff planning room. 

Additionally, there will be outdoor learning areas, including an outdoor amphitheater, and playgrounds even equipped with a tricycle track for the Pre-k and kindergarten classes. 

From a rooftop learning garden, exposed ductwork and skylights in the classrooms and signage throughout the building which provide educational sustainability facts, Barkley will be a resource for students as well as the community for years to come.