New Fort Riley elementary school underway

FORT RILEY, Kan. — Work on the new Fort Riley elementary school is proceeding, following the Office of Local Defense Community Cooperative (OLDCC) approving a matching grant for construction of an 81,000 square foot, 390 student capacity school in April. The school will replace Jefferson Elementary on Custer Hill and will include six pre-kindergarten classrooms.

Geary County Schools USD 475 was the first of multiple districts being considered to receive the OLDCC grant funding during the cooperative’s recent round of school reviews.

The OLDCC approval triggered several processes, including a lease renewal between Geary County Schools USD 475 and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the 18-acre construction site. The selection of a general contractor is expected to be completed by early August. A site survey has been ordered, and architectural planning meetings are currently in place. Key district personnel providing design input include three Fort Riley school principals, the district’s director of Special Education, as well as the Early Childhood Program coordinator. The district’s information technology personnel are also partaking in the discussion. A site placement meeting with Fort Riley Public Works is expected to be held within the next couple of weeks.

“The pandemic helped OLDCC become a champion of the SJCF Architecture design for the proposed school,” stated David Wild, chief operations officer for the district.

The design of the new school is taken from the existing Seitz Elementary School and Fort Riley Elementary School. This allows for planned expansion, improved virus mitigation, and containment protocols, improving school technology, the academic environment, safety, and security, as well as space utilization and energy efficiencies.

With the design, wings, known as pods, can be sealed off by the central office with a push of a button that will lock down corridor doors. Each pod includes a central space for collaborative work, grade-specific restrooms, and nearby administrative support offices. The media center and library are located in the heart of the facility with a storm-rated gymnasium (safety shelter) located near the cafeteria.

The district plans to open the school in the fall of 2023.

For inquiries, please contact Lindley Lund, Marketing and Media Specialist for Geary County Schools USD 475, at lindleylund@usd475.org