On Wednesday July 28, 2021, LAN Associates joined district leadership, administrators, local officials, and members of the community from the Voorhees School District to break ground on a new kindergarten addition at Kresson Elementary School.
Once finished, the addition will be the permanent home of the district’s new full-day kindergarten program. The district is adding full-day kindergarten in September 2021, but the new 14,400 sq. ft. addition will allow the district to consolidate the kindergarten programs from four local schools into one single location for the school year starting in September 2022.
The $4.5M project includes ten new, and five newly renovated, kindergarten classrooms built to embrace 21st century learning. Adaptability and technology are at the forefront of the design, with flexible furniture that will help teachers shape the classroom to fit different lesson plans. Corridors will include recessed benches and pin-up space dedicated to each classroom, and the addition incorporates a multi-use lobby that doubles as a break-out space.
“The goal is twofold,” said LAN Associates Assistant Vice President Ron Schwenke, who is serving as Project Manager and Lead Architect on the project. “The objective is not only to deliver a practical and permanent home for the district’s new full-day kindergarten program, but also to ensure the design provides a true 21st century learning environment. We want to ensure when students begin their academic journey in Voorhees, they are starting out with every advantage.”
A new outdoor learning courtyard will be used as a student break-out area and de-escalation space to promote student wellness. It will feature low-maintenance, drought tolerant plantings, rock gardens, hardscape seating areas and pathways. The adjacent corridor offers expansive views of the courtyard as well as provides abundant daylighting to the interior.
Safety and security measures are seamlessly woven into the layout through environmental design strategies that maximize passive security without creating a sense of alarm for students. The result will be an innovative design with curriculum shaping functionality that provides a playful and inspiring experience for students.
“The Voorhees Township School District is excited to provide full-day kindergarten for our students starting September 2021,” said Acting Superintendent of Schools, Michael T. Redfearn. “We are even more excited to begin construction on our new kindergarten facility at Kresson School. We would like to thank the community for their support of this project and our Board of Education for bringing the vision of full-day kindergarten into a reality. We look forward to our partnership with LAN Associates and Duall Building Restoration as we move forward with this project.”
The district administration and LAN Associates involved key stake holders throughout the design process, designating an “Ad Hoc Committee” consisting of four Board Members and Central Administration and a “Kindergarten Committee” made up of the District’s Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction, kindergarten teachers, and select like-minded staff. The initial plan for the project was to renovate each of the District’s Elementary School’s Kindergarten Classrooms to accommodate the new full-day program. However, after a preliminary feasibility study it was deemed more efficient to consolidate and construct the dedicated kindergarten addition at Kresson Elementary.
LAN’s full-service team was retained by the Voorhees Township Board of Education to provide architecture, interior design, MEP engineering, civil engineering, environmental engineering, and land surveying services for the project. Duall Restoration, Inc. was awarded the construction contract. The goal is to have doors open on the new addition by the time students arrive in September in 2022.