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Fisher Koppenhafer designing KIPP charter school

Fisher Koppenhafer Architecture and Interior Design ( is designing Florida’s first Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) schools in Jacksonville.  The firm is serving as the architect and interior designer for the new public charter schools and donating a portion of its design services to the non-profit organization. 

KIPP has a national track record of preparing students in underserved communities for success in college and in life, with 82 KIPP schools in 19 states and the District of Columbia serving 20,000 students.  By providing outstanding educators, more time in school learning and a strong culture of achievement, KIPP is helping all students climb the mountain to college.

“It is outstanding news for the city of Jacksonville and its children to have KIPP schools located in our area,” said Mike Koppenhafer, AIA and president of Fisher Koppenhafer Architecture and Interior Design.  “Our goal is to create an innovative and inspiring campus where students will discover their talents and prepare for future success.”

Fisher Koppenhafer is charged with transforming a previous kennel club facility into an educational campus that will serve three KIPP Jacksonville schools.  Jacksonville Greyhound Racing, the owner of the former Jacksonville Kennel Club on McDuff Avenue, donated the land and a four-story building to KIPP for its new schools. 

Formerly a clubhouse at the racing facility, the building contains approximately 170,000 square feet of space which will be renovated to include classrooms, administrative offices, and a cafeteria.  The property also consists of an outdoor track that will be used for physical education programs as well as areas that can accommodate basketball courts and playing fields.   

“With renovations at our facility underway, we can focus on establishing our culture of excellence and recruiting excellent teachers for our program,” said KIPP Jacksonville Executive Director Tom Majdanics.  “KIPP has a strong track record in preparing its students with the academic and character skills necessary to succeed in college and contribute to a community’s long-term well being.  We are working hard to build on KIPP’s successes for the benefit of our kids in Jacksonville.”

The first of three planned KIPP Jacksonville schools at the campus will open in 2010.  It will start with 5th grade and add other grades in subsequent years until the school serves 5th through 8th grades.  Additional schools will open in subsequent years.  When complete, approximately 1,200 children will attend the Fisher Koppenhafer-designed KIPP Jacksonville campus.

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