by Cori Hilsgen
Kennedy Community School, which opened for students in fall 2008, is once again under construction.
The current school was built when the former Kennedy Elementary building, now Colts Academy, no longer met the space needs of the growing student population.
Even though the new Kennedy school seemed very large to many people when it was built, it is once again filled and needs additional space. Fortunately, original construction planning included plans for expansion.
Principal Judy Nagel said construction of 10 classrooms, staff and student restrooms, renovation of the cafeteria and a smaller parking lot behind the school are planned.
“We are very excited for the new rooms and renovations at Kennedy,” Nagel said.
Three exits that were adjacent to the area where additions are being built have temporarily been closed during construction, and outside fencing has been added around the construction sites. New temporary exits were constructed before the project began.
Architect David Leapaldt said the construction is very much in line with the green-school philosophy that inspired the first construction of the school.
He said when the mechanical system was originally installed, it was built to accommodate expansions that will be hooked up to the geothermal heat-pump system. The daylighting concept, where light sensors dim or turn off the lighting when natural lighting can be used, will again be installed. Many other similar concepts used in the original construction of the school are being applied to the addition.
Leapaldt said when the addition is finished, people shouldn’t be able to tell where the new addition was added.
The U.S. Green Building Council awarded Kennedy with a Leadership in Energy and Environment Design for Schools certification at the “Gold” level in 2010. Some designs for sustainability and energy efficiency that led to the certification included an infiltration basin, a geothermal heat-pump system, sensors to take advantage of natural daylight, a displacement ventilation system controlling air flow and more.
Executive Director of Business Services Kevin Januszewski said the estimated cost of the Kennedy construction is $4.7 million. It’s expected to be completed before the 2015-16 school year.
To meet other space needs, the district is also adding additional classrooms at Clearview Elementary and North Junior High. The total estimated cost for the three schools is $17 million.