Skip to Content

Kenner Discovery Health Sciences Academy Infrastructure

Size of Project

52,000 Cubic Yards of Excavation Work


Kenner, LA


Friends of Kenner Discovery


Excavation, Drainage, Concrete, Site Work


Completed in 2020


The right foundation.

Like a good education, a school should be built on the right foundation—and by an expert infrastructure team capable of addressing its unique challenges. Engaged as the Design-Assist contractor, RNGD was afforded the opportunity to build Kenner Discovery Health Sciences Academy’s campus. As the first new public school construction on the Eastbank of Jefferson Parish since the 1980s, the school would have a permanent footprint of 125,000 square feet to meet the school’s growing demand for space and diverse educational offerings. RNGD’s Infrastructure Team was tasked with prepping the site for its foundation through drainage, reshaping, and base, as well as installing utilities durable enough to support the school’s population. However, building in Kenner is no small feat. Whether it was digging up holes for piles or installing piping, the high water table made for an unrelenting challenge. Fortunately, we’re not ones to shy away from obstacles. 

Cost-effective and innovative.

To build in the Greater New Orleans region is to understand the significant part water plays in creating chaos for any project. As a former swamp, the area was drained ten years prior and filled with ten feet of sand. When the Infrastructure Team began work at the project’s kick-off, water quickly filled any holes or trenches that were dug. Our team worked with engineering firm Linfield Hunter & Junius to formulate an effective solution that could adhere to the building’s plan and the client’s budget. A retention pond with 220,000 cubic feet of storage capacity was the ideal response for managing the issue. After getting the site to elevation, the team dug drainage trenches from the building’s footprint to the retention pond. This strategy moved the water away from the building’s crucial foundation components, such as piles, footings, and pile caps. However, the terrain was also an issue for the pond itself. The sand embankments would continuously erode. Working with geotechnical and civil engineers, we created a cost-effective and innovative solution. Visqueen lining was layered onto the pond slopes along with #57 stone. The weight of the stone held the sand and soil in place, allowing it to flow through the top of the stone without eroding the ground.

Installation and preparation.

Infrastructure is about installation and preparation. The team constructed the school’s foundation, parking lot, and 700 linear feet of concrete walkway. To prepare the building for high-volume use, our team installed and connected utilities, including water, sewage, and drainage. The sewerage system was particularly important—it had to be durable enough for the influx of waste and funnel to the city system appropriately. The high water table in Kenner meant gravity sewer lines were a no-go. Instead, the infrastructure team installed a sewer lift station with a concrete wet well. The station pumps water vertically up and out to another station, ultimately heading to the city’s sewer treatment depot. But aside from moving water from the building, the water and poor soil around the foundation also had to be addressed. To meet it head-on, the Infrastructure Team incorporated a ball-joint connection under the ground from the school foundation to the parking lot. The mechanism would rotate and extend as the building settles to prevent pipes from shearing, breaking, or leaving the building entirely.

A relentless pursuit of excellence.

For RNGD’s Infrastructure Team, successful site preparation starts with detailed production planning. Our company’s strength comes from the self-perform forces that enable us to take on challenges, meet expectations to the smallest detail, and turn over the site quickly for the next team. Kenner Discovery’s compressed timeline put our renegade style in the fast lane, but it enabled our team to be part of the solution every time, like using excess excavated soil to create a soccer field for the school. The Kenner Discovery Health Sciences Academy campus was completed in 2020, offering students an engaging atmosphere to learn in. This project marked the expansion of educational innovation in our region and bolstered RNGD’s relentless pursuit of excellence.