Two experts explore how important design is in facilitating a productive learning environment, as ISB prepares to give a sneak peek of its forthcoming facilities in Admissions Open Houses.
ISB is excited to open all four of our brand-new facilities – an Elementary School Arts Center and Theater, a Middle School/High School Performing Arts Center, a Middle School/High School Design Center, and our new Early Years Learning Community. All four of these new facilities have been designed to ensure we continue to live our Mission and Vision, while ensuring the highest safety standards for our whole community.
ES Arts Center and Theater
A flexible, creative performance/practice space unlike any other on campus, expressly designed to meet the needs of ES performers and audience members. Includes a purpose-built theater, performing arts classrooms, elementary art classrooms, and demonstration areas.
Supports the development of ISB's ES fine arts foundational programs, which in turn fuels the growth of world-class secondary fine arts programs.
Increases the opportunity to focus on whole child development and offers a greater range of options for students to meet individual success (increased co-curricular options for students).
Early Years Learning Community
A large, purpose-designed space to better serve ISB's youngest learners. Thirteen classrooms (EY 3, EY 4, and Kindergarten), lofts, and large common spaces.
Early years art classroom, music classroom, and student kitchen. Child-sized facilities and indoor play spaces connected to the outdoor play spaces.
Supports ISB's Early Years program philosophy of differentiation, play-based, and inquiry-based approaches to learning, by offering flexible learning spaces.
Supports collaboration and the development of skills and community within and across grade levels, by utilizing communal areas.
Enhanced safety as this center is a protected learning space for our young learners.
MS/HS Performing Arts Center
Purpose-built to create a space for the growth of our dynamic performing arts programs. Provides specially designed performing arts classrooms and practice rooms (band, orchestra, choir, drama, and dance) with consideration for acoustic, lighting, and flooring requirements.
Extends and supports the learning of our performing arts students both inside and outside of our school day programs.
Better supports student creativity in composing, performing, and recording.
Reflects the great value that ISB places on our arts programs and will help to inspire our students for a lifetime.
MS/HS Design Center
Centralized design facility for showcasing design and engineering programs. Robotics and electronics lab, fabrication lab, finishing lab, three HS art classrooms, and three flexible collaborative design spaces.
Showcases ISB's design, engineering, and entrepreneurship programs which challenge students to create, prototype, and iterate ideas, through a centralized design facility.
Facilitates applied learning in science, math, technology, art, and design.
Provides inspiring spaces to facilitate trans-disciplinary and project-based learning.
Maintaining excellent air quality throughout campus
The International School of Beijing (ISB) prioritizes the health and safety of our students, employees, and community. When planning the development of our new facilities, the design committees worked closely with architects and interior specialists to ensure the new spaces are built to the highest construction and safety standards.
ISB places a high value on the safety of our community. Designing and constructing a safe school facility in host countries often increases the costs of a school construction project and ISB, a non-profit school, has committed the necessary funds to make sure that our new facilities have been constructed using high quality, safe materials.
With the guidance of international construction industry leaders, ISB proactively planned the construction project, selected materials, and established construction/inspection processes to ensure that our new learning spaces will be safe when opened for use.
The school's efforts have focused on using high-quality construction materials, purchasing imported or using existing school furniture, increasing the construction ventilation period, and establishing a Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) and formaldehyde treatment and testing program.
Construction Material Quality
In alignment with our strategic pathway to evolve into a more sustainable place of learning, the architects and ISB design committees were required to select environmentally friendly, safe materials. This requirement often led to the selection of imported or international brands of materials such as:
Wall paint: Nippon - Japanese brand
Wall fabric: Autex - made in New Zealand
Carpet: Milliken - American brand
Rubber floor: Mondo - made in Italy
Wood floors: Imported European wood
Plasterboard: Knauf - German brand
Ceiling paint: Nippon - Japanese brand
ISB will use existing classroom furniture in many of the new educational spaces. Current classroom furniture is in good condition and therefore more than 80 percent of the furniture used for ISB's new Early Years Center will be moved in from our current classrooms.
All new classroom furniture and theater seating has been purchased and imported from outside of China. These imported brands include Steelcase, Trendway, Vitra, Wenger, and American Hussey.
Millwork and other fixed furnishings that have been custom designed and manufactured are required to meet the Global Ecolabelling Network (CEC) standards, Ecolabelling ISO 14015, and the formaldehyde releasing level of E0 standard (E0 0.5mg/L).
The millwork and fixed furnishing have been constructed early and aired out in a warehouse for at least three months before being delivered to campus and installed.
All new furnishings delivered to school will be unwrapped and stored in a well-ventilated area for at least two months before installation and the start of air quality testing.
Concrete and Steel Structure
All materials have been provided by a certified concrete plant and/or steel plant. Materials delivered to site have the required quality reports, and these materials are sampled for follow-up lab testing.
ISB and the contractors have purposely extended the length of time that these new indoor spaces remain open to outdoor air by delaying the full installation of the windows for the project.
Once these exterior spaces are sealed, ISB will achieve the same high standards of air quality provided by the existing state-of-the-art air-filtration system throughout the school.
Indoor Air Treatment and Quality Testing
One or more VOC and formaldehyde treatments will be performed by a certified company after all construction is complete and the furniture is in place.
As a key step in the project inspection process, the general contractor will hire a certified company to conduct indoor air tests to make sure that the air quality inside these new facilities is acceptable and safe.
ISB has also scheduled an additional certified air quality testing company to come to campus to sample the air inside our new facilities to confirm that the indoor air is safe for students, employees, and our community.
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Four new and remodeled buildings set to be introduced in 2019 and 2020 are the result of a consultation that asked ISB parents, students, teachers, and administrators what makes the best learning spaces.