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Louisville District leads Van Voorhis Elementary School construction project at Fort Knox

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District
Published Oct. 2, 2020

Come 2024, the Fort Knox, Kentucky Army post is scheduled to have another new 21st century elementary school, along with its Kingsolver Elementary School.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District will lead the construction effort for the replacement of the Van Voorhis Elementary School.

The new 104,000-square-foot school will replace the existing 84,000-square-foot educational facility. The work is to consist of building a new elementary school, demolishing the current school, constructing a playfield and parking lot. 

The new 21st century Van Voorhis Elementary School will be on the existing property of the current school, located on Folger Street. The present school shall remain in operation during construction, said Ben Evans, Louisville District project manager. Consideration must be taken to maintain the existing parent drop-off/pick-up, vehicle circulation and parking.

According to Evans, while the project is yet to be awarded, it is expected to be awarded in the second quarter of calendar year 2021 or third quarter fiscal year 2021.

“The construction cost is estimated between $25 million and $100 million,” Evans said. “Depending on award timeframe, the project will take about 950 days.”

This project is an Architect/Engineer Design Bid Build, which means a full design will be completed to include plans/drawings, and specifications will be provided upon the solicitation of the construction aspect of work. The contractor will not be required to perform design work as that will already have been done, Evans said. 

In compliance with current Department of Defense Education Activity 21st century facility requirements, the Van Voorhis Elementary School replacement project will include general purpose classrooms, gymnasium, auditorium, information center, computer lab, cafeteria/food service/kitchen, supply areas, specialist rooms, music room, art room, learning impaired room, neighborhoods, learning hubs, teacher work rooms, counseling areas, storage, administrative offices, and other required areas for a fully functioning facility and school complex.

Even though the project hasn’t been awarded yet, there have been a few concerns.

The design schedule and geotechnical results have posed challenges, Evans said. However, these challenges have been overcome with the Project Delivery Team’s management of risks.

In line with the U.S. Department of Transportation, geotechnical results, plans, reports and special provisions may involve any earthwork or foundation related activities such as construction of cuts, fills or retaining structures, which due to their size, scope, complexity or cost, deserve special attention.

Although the PDT has faced a few challenges, the team has completed the Interim Design phase. 

Through AE and PDT coordination, 65 percent design has been submitted, Evans said. 

The Interim Design phase ensures funding limitations are not being exceeded, and the drawings, design analysis, specifications and cost estimate are proceeding in a timely manner, along with the design criteria and previous review comments being correctly interpreted, as summarized from the Louisville District Military Design Guide.

As the Louisville District Military Construction Division progresses with this project, Evans is looking forward to, “Having the privilege to lead a wonderful team of experts to produce a school for the children of our honored U.S. military Soldiers,” he said.