Jitegemee Building Sketches
The coming of spring this year is a very exciting time for Jitegemee and family as we welcome many changes to the program and look forward to the opportunities they bring. The construction of the new campus is set to begin and strategic visioning sessions are underway to help grow and guide the program through the next five years. Things are getting exciting.
For my part, I am extremely excited about the construction of the new campus. My name is Mark Palmer and I'm an architect based in Washington, DC. Four years ago, I traveled to Machakos with a group of volunteers from Architecture for Humanity to host a school design workshop with Jitegemee. The goal of this workshop was to engage the students, teachers, parents, and community members in the design of the new school. As architects, we knew how to design a school, but only they knew Jitegemee - their needs, wants, goals, and aspirations.
We spent approximately two weeks working closely with this "planning committee" to discuss what the current school offered, what it didn't and what they wanted it to be. We visited other schools in the area to help everyone envision similar projects. We engaged in activities that let the planning committee design and draw their ideal school. We talked about and discussed sustainable design and how smart and efficient design could save energy, conserve water, and create a beautiful, healthy, and safe environment. From this workshop and subsequent design collaboration between the Architecture for Humanity, the Jitegemee planning committee, the Jitegemee Board, and Mr. Musau Kimeu - the local Nairobi-based architect of record - a new campus was born.
After four years of design, planning, and fundraising, the new Jitegemee School campus is being prepared for construction - and I'm excited. The construction drawings have been approved and stamped. The land has been cleared. A contractor has been selected. Within a few short months, the foundations will be dug and poured. Shortly after that, the walls of the new Jitegemee School campus will begin to rise, and with them, a new era will begin.
As the walls take shape, a sustainable campus will begin to grow on site. A new library and technology center will host both students and community members helping to spread knowledge and digital opportunities. Expanded classrooms with better daylighting and ventilation will allow students to gather in both large groups and in smaller, more private learning zones. A new toilet will recycle waste and produce biogas to power more efficient stoves in the kitchen saving energy, eliminating the need for costly and dirty charcoal, and reducing waste. Rainwater collection tanks on each roof will collect rainwater and store it for use during the dry season to help keep the garden and tree farm healthy and productive. Solar hot water heaters will heat water free of energy and provide hot water for hand-washing, dish washing, and other sanitary purposes - all from the power of the sun.
Four years ago, a group of students, teachers, parents, and community members began the long process of shaping their future through building. In a few short months, those efforts will begin to take shape, and that dream will be realized. In a few short months, the new Jitegemee School campus will stand as proof of what can be accomplished by trust, collaboration, dedication, and will open many new doors to the future.