Green features for new German school

An artist's impression of the $135 million GESS campus. It will have environmentally friendly features in its building design, such as vertical greenery, a rainwater-harvesting system and rain garden to irrigate the plants and filter rainwater runoff
An artist's impression of the $135 million GESS campus. It will have environmentally friendly features in its building design, such as vertical greenery, a rainwater-harvesting system and rain garden to irrigate the plants and filter rainwater runoff.PHOTO: P&T CONSULTANTS

When their new $135 million campus in Dairy Farm Road opens in 2018, students from the German European School Singapore (GESS) will get to enjoy being surrounded by nature.

The 3ha campusopposite the Dairy Farm Nature Park will have environmentally friendly features. The building facade, for instance, will be shrouded in vertical greenery, with a rainwater-harvesting system and rain garden to irrigate plants and filter rainwater runoff.

With enrolment on the rise, the capacity of the new GESS campus could hit 2,000, up from the current 1,500. Its existing campus in Bukit Tinggi Road will be sub-leased to Chatsworth International School for 30 years, while the land from its Jalan Jurong Kechil campus will be handed back to the authorities.

The GESS and other international schools have expanded in recent years amid growing demand from expatriate parents who have struggled to find places in local schools. The new school, which will have twice the floor space of the current two campuses, will have its own auditorium that can seat over 400 and facilities like an Olympic-size swimming pool, sports field and hall.

Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, who officiated at the ground-breaking ceremony yesterday, re-affirmed Singapore's openness to international partnerships.

He also reminded GESS of the need to "truly be a green school" given that the new campus will be located in an "environmentally sensitive" area.

GESS principal Hermann Battenberg said the school will be stepping up environmental education given the new campus' proximity to nature, and integrating it in subjects like biology. It also hopes to conduct activities like clean-ups in the nature park with local schools in the community.

"Facilities like the auditorium are also open to the other students in the area, and we hope to open them after school for community use as much as possible," he said.

Yuen Sin

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 10, 2016, with the headline 'Green features for new German school'. Print Edition | Subscribe