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Kenner Discovery Health Sciences Academy

Size of Project

125,000 SF


Kenner, LA


Friends of Discovery Health Sciences Foundation




New Construction


Completed in 2020


Sizeler Thompson Brown Architects


First new construction of a public school since the 1980s.

Growth happens. It can be complex. But being a team player makes all the difference.  In Jefferson Parish, Kenner Discovery Health Sciences Academy is one of the fastest-growing schools for early childhood through 12th grade. High demand led to a lengthy waitlist. It also meant an opportunity to expand its capacity and boost its unique educational offerings for students growing up in a fast-paced, technology-driven world. The Friends of Discovery Health Sciences Foundation engaged RNGD as the Design-Assist Contractor to lead the new construction of the 125,000 sq. ft. school. It would be the first new construction of a public school on the Eastbank of Jefferson Parish since the 1980s and a new chapter for education in Greater New Orleans.

Expertise and partnership-focused mindset.

The challenge of a tight 12-month timeline—so the first graduating class could utilize the building—made preconstruction a vital exercise in applying our expertise and partnership-focused mindset. Our signature process leveraged project data to provide informed choices for the owner, efficient design for our design partners at Sizeler Thompson Brown Architects, and scope clarity for our trade partners. Through open communication, the RNGD preconstruction team led an effort to use a Precast Concrete System for the project’s structure in lieu of a more conventional stick-built steel structure. The Precast option would reduce the project timeline and bolster the overall resiliency of the building. After confirming the virtual model through BIM, the signoff on using prefabricated concrete led to our team’s careful cross-coordination of fabrication, delivery, and installation.

A Pull Planning approach.

Enhancing the capabilities of education starts with a lasting foundation. RNGD’s infrastructure team went in first, preparing for the structure with completed drainage, reshaping, and base. The team also constructed a 700 linear foot walkway and canopy foundation. Following their work, the RNGD construction team worked on assembling the offsite prefabricated components, including HVAC racks, plumbing, and curtain walls. We utilized a Pull Planning approach which enabled the team to pivot quickly, adapt, reduce the time between trade partner handoffs, and stay on schedule. On-site coordination with project partners was crucial to remain on track. Pre-install sessions were conducted by scope, allowing the team to collaborate and coordinate with the client and partners in real time. Applying our proprietary Zero Defects process, the team was on hand to mitigate potential issues and immediately review installs.

Renegades that don’t quit.

On an empty lot in Kenner, RNGD built a new school, and its operational capacity is bound to impact generations to come. The campus includes a new three-story educational facility with 53 classrooms, a library, science labs, teaching kitchen, simulated hospital room, music room, digital media room, cafeteria, a full kitchen, and more than 11,000 sq. ft. of administrative facilities. An outdoor plaza and concrete paved parking lot provide additional space and room for over 300 vehicles. The level of transparency, communication, and teamwork directed by RNGD amidst a narrow window of execution, led to an overwhelming success and delivery of a great final product. From preconstruction to infrastructure and active building, this project was the perfect example of the RNGD approach—inspiring a culture of solutions with renegades that don’t quit.