Mayor, MNPS, KIPP Open Doors at Newly-Renovated Highland Heights
Historic Building Includes Middle and High School
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Mayor Karl Dean, joined by Director of Metro Schools Dr. Jesse Register and public charter school KIPP Nashville, opened the doors to the newly-renovated Highland Heights historic school building in East Nashville today. Highland Heights now houses KIPP's middle school and its new high school, which started this year with a class of ninth graders. The building will also be available for community meetings for the Highland Heights neighborhood.
"After years of sitting in disrepair, KIPP's new home will once again be the centerpiece of the Highland Heights community, which has been very supportive of this project," Mayor Dean said. "Given the conditions that the students, faculty and staff at KIPP tolerated when they first moved into the building, it is fitting that this new beginning coincides with the opening of their new high school on the top floors of the facility. KIPP is doing great things for their students and families, and our whole city should be proud of their outstanding academic results."
KIPP Academy Nashville first started serving students at Highland Heights in the fall of 2005, and the school temporarily relocated during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years while renovations were undertaken. Metro Schools provided the building to Metro Government, which invested $19.6 million in its expansion and renovation. KIPP now leases the building from Metro Government.
The 92,465-square-foot facility includes 57,594 square feet of new space and 34,871 square feet of existing space that was completely gutted and renovated. The original school was constructed around 1935 and underwent various additions in the 1960s and 1980s. The building was vacant for several years prior to KIPP's lease in 2005.
"We are glad to be home," said Randy Dowell, executive director of KIPP Nashville. "The new Highland Heights will enable our amazing teachers to serve more students and further help them prove the possible. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Mayor Dean for having the vision for what Highland Heights could do for our school and this community and to the Metro Council for funding the renovation."
The new building includes classrooms, science labs, computer labs and a music classroom that includes a recording booth for the students. It also has a group instruction area for large educational activities, as well as a new cafeteria. The cafeteria will be available after hours and on weekends for adult education and youth programs and other community events.
"I appreciate that the project team saved and renovated the original 1935 façade, which is a neighborhood icon, and provided a thoughtful addition that respects the historic nature of this beautiful building," said Metro Councilman Scott Davis. "Our entire community is proud that the Highland Heights building will once again be a center of learning for schoolchildren and a gathering place for our community."
The building was designed and built to meet LEED Silver certification standards. The original single-glazed steel windows in the historic façade were replaced with new energy-efficient windows designed to replicate the aesthetics of the original 1935 era windows. Additionally, the building has an energy-efficient, geothermal system for heating and cooling. There are approximately 150 geothermal wells located throughout the grounds to provide the infrastructure required for this system. Both the interior classroom lighting system and exterior lights are energy-efficient and automatically adjusts to natural light levels.
"KIPP Nashville Collegiate High School at the new Highland Heights will allow my daughter to continue her journey to college that began with the excellent education she received at KIPP Academy Nashville," said parent Camiqueka Fuller. "This building and KIPP Nashville schools are anchors in our community. I'm grateful to Mayor Dean and other leaders in our city and in this community."
In addition to housing KIPP's middle and high school, Highland Heights will also be home to the regional offices for KIPP Academy of Nashville.
Nationally, KIPP students graduate from college at a rate four times greater than their peers and equal to the national average for all students. KIPP Nashville has a strong track record of promoting student achievement. In 2013, the Education Consumers Foundation ranked KIPP Academy Nashville as the top-achieving school among middle and K-8 schools in Middle Tennessee in terms of value-added learning gains. KIPP Academy Nashville has outperformed district averages across all state-tested subjects consistently, and outperformed the state in all subjects this past year.
Since taking office, Mayor Dean has invested $389 million in capital spending in Metro Schools, including $110 million in renovations, expansions and new buildings in the 2014-15 fiscal year capital spending plan.
Gobbell Hays Partners led the design team and was the architect and LEED facilitator on the project, which included participation from several women-owned, minority-owned and small businesses. R.G. Anderson Company was the general contractor on the project.
About KIPP Nashville
KIPP Nashville is a Nashville-based nonprofit organization that launches and manages high-performing public charter schools since 2005. Currently, KIPP Nashville provides 650 students in East and North Nashville with a college-preparatory public education at three schools; KIPP Academy Nashville (5-8), KIPP Nashville College Prep (5-6) and KIPP Nashville Collegiate High School (9). In 2015 KIPP Nashville will launch its first elementary schools, including a partnership with Metro Nashville Public Schools to implement a phased restart of a struggling East Nashville elementary school, completing a K-12 pathway.