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Back to school: Corps constructing three new schools at Fort Campbell

Published Aug. 28, 2014
A rendering shows what the completed Barkley Elementary School at Fort Campbell will look like when completed in 2015.

A rendering shows what the completed Barkley Elementary School at Fort Campbell will look like when completed in 2015.

Just as a new school year begins so does construction on the new Barkley Elementary School at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. In 2016, students will enter the new 142,000 square foot leading-edge facility that has already been recognized with four prestigious awards for its innovative design.

The new school is just one of three to be built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) over the next three years at Fort Campbell. All three projects are in different phases with Barkley Elementary already under construction, another elementary—Marshall Elementary School—to begin site work in September, and the $59.3 million contract for Fort Campbell High School to be awarded in mid-November.

The elementary schools will replace existing schools—built in 1954 for Barkley and 1961 for Marshall—that are outdated and in poor condition.

"Replacement of the schools is more cost effective than renovation," said Andrew Dettmer, USACE Louisville District, project manager.

Fort Campbell High School is being built to replace the existing school, which was built in 1985, and was originally constructed for 500 students. Current enrollment is 750 students, which results in overcrowding of classrooms and multipurpose areas.

"The Department of Defense Education Activities (DoDEA) program has provided USACE and the Louisville District a great opportunity to be part of a team that will provide the Army children at Fort Campbell state-of-the-art, flexible, adaptable and sustainable learning environments for decades to come and facilitate the paradigm shift to 21st Century education," said Dettmer.

Barkley Elementary School

Barkley Elementary School, currently under construction by SBH & CORE Joint Venture, Gallatin, Tennessee, is a $45.2 million project to create a new state-of-the-art school with room for 741 students. Work is ongoing to install geothermal wells and the Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) for the exterior construction. Work is expected to be complete in December 2015.

"This school is one of five schools on post designed under the 21st Century Education Initiative set forth by DoDEA," said Dettmer. The facility will provide a learning environment that accommodates multiple learning and teaching styles.

The school’s design will incorporate a neighborhood type layout in which nine different neighborhoods for Pre-K through fifth grade are each 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, restrooms, storage, art and music classrooms are provided. The design also includes an occupational and physical therapy area and special education support spaces. There will be outdoor learning areas, including an outdoor amphitheatre and playgrounds even equipped with a tricycle track for the Pre-K and kindergarten classes.

From the rooftop learning garden to an information center, Barkley will be a resource for the students as well as the community for years to come. During non-school hours the information center, large commons area and gymnasium will be shared with all residents on post.

These innovative concepts and design features have already led to four awards for the project, most notably—two awards from the 2014 Chief of Engineers Design and Environmental Awards Program.

  • 2014 Chief of Engineers Building the Future Award for excellence in sustainability
  • 2014 Chief of Engineers Honor Award for design
  • 2013 Works in Progress Citation Award from the American School and University Magazine
  • 2013 New Construction/Addition Outstanding Project Award from Learning by Design Magazine.

These awards recognize the project and its team members for excellence in sustainability, design and using concepts and methods that will be used to influence all future DoDEA schools designs to come.

"We have set the mark for the 21st Century School concept," said Dewey Rissler, chief, military support section, USACE, Louisville District. "All of these awards are great accolades not only for the Louisville District, but for the entire DoDEA team as they’ve all worked very hard."

The new Barkley Elementary is being built beside the existing Wassom Middle School at Fort Campbell. After its completion the old school will be turned over to the Fort Campbell Installation and will be repurposed as a Network Enterprise Center.

Marshall Elementary School

Marshall Elementary is an approximately 112,000 square-foot facility with room for 647 students. The $38.6 million project was awarded to Walsh Federal Joint Venture, Chicago, Illinois, in July. On-site work will begin in September with construction completion anticipated for April 2016. Construction will also include demolition of the old school, which sits on the same site.

The new two-story school will also use the neighborhood hubs layout to maximize flexibility of the learning environment with six different neighborhoods each containing a hub and six learning studios. There will be play areas for various groups, a roof garden, outdoor learning areas, an outdoor movie theater and an outdoor amphitheater.

Fort Campbell High School

The Fort Campbell High School is being constructed to make room for 800 students in the approximately 184,000 square-foot facility. The contract for this $59.3 million project will be awarded to a construction contractor in mid-November with groundwork anticipated to begin by the end of 2014.

The current high school will remain and become a middle school. Between the two schools the Corps will construct a soccer field, running track, field house and lighted tennis courts creating a middle school/high school campus.

"This is the first high school in the United States designed under the new 21st Century Education Initiative set forth by DoDEA," said Dettmer. "The high school is really a big deal for the Fort Campbell community and the Louisville District is excited to be a part of it."

Following the new concept, the high school will also have eight neighborhoods with a central hub and five to six learning studios, one-to-one and group learning spaces, career and technical education labs and science labs. There will be outdoor classrooms, a student garden and an outdoor amphitheater. Another special feature is that the high school will also have a JROTC rifle range on site.

The entire project is planned to be complete by April 2017.

"The success of the projects to date is a credit to the entire PDT, including Louisville District, Norfolk District and our customers at DoDEA and Fort Campbell DPW. We are looking forward to making the award on the Fort Campbell High School and completing all three construction projects in time to meet the scheduled school openings for each," said Dettmer.