By Nick Yates, ISB Communications
At the start of the 2020-2021 academic year, the thought going through most people’s heads as they walk round the International School of Beijing (ISB) has been “Wow!” The school’s new facilities are, quite simply, stunning.
After a highly unusual Summer Break, this is the moment the whole ISB community has been waiting for as students have begun learning in a new Elementary School (ES) Arts Center and Theater, Middle School (MS)/High School (HS) Performing Arts Center, Early Years Learning Community (EYLC), and MS/HS Design Center.
These Facilities Master Plan (FMP) projects have been years in the planning, including extensive community input and consultation, to ensure the school continues to live its Mission and Vision and provide challenging and joyful learning for all. We have finally seen some of the most significant construction projects in ISB’s history come to fruition.
The FMP was divided into new-build and remodel projects. ISB was excited to open the two brand-new projects – the ES Arts Center and Theater, and the MS/HS Performing Arts Center – in February, just as Covid-19 forced the temporary closure of campus and a period of online learning. They are now joined by the remaining two remodel projects – the EYLC, and MS/HS Design Center.
The EYLC is a large, purpose-designed space to better serve ISB’s youngest learners. It features 13 classrooms, lofts, and large common spaces for Early Years 3, Early Years 4, and Kindergarten students. There’s an early years art classroom, music classroom, and student kitchen. Child-sized facilities and indoor play spaces are connected to outdoor play spaces.
The MS/HS Design Center is a centralized facility for showcasing design and engineering programs. Designers can work in a robotics and electronics lab, fabrication lab, finishing lab, three HS art classrooms, and three flexible collaborative spaces. This area of the school provides inspiring spaces to facilitate interdisciplinary and project-based learning.
The ES Arts Center and Theater is a flexible, creative performance/practice space unlike any other on campus, expressly designed to meet the needs of ES performers and audience members. It includes a purpose-built theater, performing arts classrooms, elementary art classrooms, and demonstration areas. ISB values the creative arts alongside academics in whole child development. By increasing co-curricular options, this new space gives a greater range of options for students to meet individual success.
Similarly, but for more senior thespians and artists, the MS/HS Performing Arts Center was purpose-built to create a space for the growth of ISB’s dynamic performing arts programs. The center includes specially designed performing arts classrooms and practice rooms (band, orchestra, choir, drama, and dance) with consideration for acoustic, lighting, and flooring requirements.
Click the slideshow above to join in the “Wow!”