New $38 million elementary school opens at Fort Knox
Kingsolver Elementary was designed for students of the 21st century.
FORT KNOX, Ky. (WDRB) -- From the outside, Kingsolver Elementary looks like your typical school, but the inside was designed for students of the 21st century.
The new $38 million school at Fort Knox is part of a larger project to transform schools run by the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA). The department, which oversees the schools on post at Fort Knox, is trying to upgrade military schools around the world for a new generation of learning.
"It's the next phase. It's the next step in education,” said Kingsolver Math Coach Deborah Bluestone.
The school is five years in the making, and designers did their homework, taking feedback from teachers and parents to be sure the plans made the grade. Designers call it the "school of the future."
"It's been a long time coming,” Kingsolver Principal Laura Gibson said.
Kingsolver’s curriculum focuses on student-centered learning.
"With flexibility for students to be able to learn in a variety of ways,” Gibson said.
Gibson was principal at the former Kingsolver Elementary school that closed several years ago. The project planning for the new school began in 2012.
When it came to the new school building, crowded hallways didn't pass the test. Students are now grouped together in neighborhoods.
Bright-colored hues can be seen on walls and the floors to serve as a mapping system to help kids find their way. The school also cut cramped classrooms out of the equation, adding open learning studios.
“Proximity is everything,” Gibson said.
Four groups make up each grade level, and lessons are taught in large, technology rich areas with movable walls made of glass or white boards.
"The walls can be written on, and work and things can be posted to them,” Gibson said.
Students break off into small learning groups where they share space and teachers.
"It's a more open approach to taking in the entire grade level as your family, as your responsibility," Bluestone said. "That's why they're called neighborhoods and learning studios."
The school’s lessons will emphasize science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM). The school is LEED certified and energy efficient. Gibson said the building itself will also serve as a learning tool for students.
"With the environment being flexible, we're able to meet student needs and be able to project even what those needs might be even in the future,” Gibson said.
Staff at Kingsolver said the feedback from students and families has been great so far.
"I think this is really special that this is happening for our military connected children. It's really powerful,” Gibson said. “It's been a long time since we had a new elementary school at Fort Knox, and it's been an honor to open it up for these families."
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