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Posted 10/29/2015

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By Katie Newton, public affairs

Steve Farkus, USACE Louisville District project manager for the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) program, led a presentation at the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) Kentuckiana Post meeting Oct. 20, 2015, on the district’s support of the DoDEA program and how the projects are serving as a learning opportunity for students. 

USACE is the design and construction agent for DoDEA schools and the Louisville District is doing five different projects—three currently under construction at Fort Campbell, one at Fort Knox, and the Fort Knox High School addition, which is still in the design phase and will be ready to advertise in January.

Amidst the construction activities taking place at the Fort Campbell projects, the construction contractor, Walsh Construction, has coordinated with USACE and DoDEA to use the construction projects as an educational tool for the students who will occupy the finished schools. 

“It’s a unique application of how we’re interacting with the community on a very special set of projects,” said Farkus.

The $35 million Marshall Elementary School project, slated to be complete by May 2016, was used as an on-site learning tool for students next door to see what the construction is all about. The project shut down for three hours out of an afternoon, put a number of planned safety measures in place and conducted on-site demonstration of trades at multiple stations. 

“We wanted to show them how we’re building the school that they’ll be in next year,” said Charles Buhagiar, Walsh Construction quality control manager.

In May 2015 the Walsh team led Marshall Elementary school students through the site and showed them many aspects of construction with stations manned by subcontractors. “All the students were given opportunities to ask questions at each station,” said Buhagiar. 

“It was really important for us to show the children how we have to do the project, and do it safely,” said Buhagiar. “It was a very rewarding part of our project.”

Additionally, the $51 million Fort Campbell High School project, which is now underway, is planning the same type of outreach for the high school students in November. The Walsh team is coordinating project education tours for high school students and demonstrating the application of CAD/engineering on a construction job site.

“Our construction activities are making a lot of noise right next door to where they’ve been learning so we need to show them what we’re doing over here,” said Joe Scappaticci, Walsh Construction, senior project manager. 

“The presentation highlighted how the delivery team of the construction contractor, the Corps of Engineers, DoDEA and the Fort Campbell Department of Public Works can bring some real value to the children of our Soldiers and their families,” said Farkus.