International school opens facilities to local groups

The German European School Singapore's new $135 million campus at 2 Dairy Farm Lane has an Olympic-size swimming pool, a football field, cooking studio and a 400-seat auditorium. These facilities are open to community organisations, subject to availa
The German European School Singapore's new $135 million campus at 2 Dairy Farm Lane has an Olympic-size swimming pool, a football field, cooking studio and a 400-seat auditorium. These facilities are open to community organisations, subject to availability and other criteria.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

German European School can further integrate with its neighbourhood, says Vivian

German European School Singapore (GESS), an international school that officially opened its new, $135 million campus yesterday, is offering the use of its facilities to community organisations.

The school is making its Olympic-size swimming pool, football field, cooking studio and a 400-seat auditorium available to groups that request to use them.

In his speech at the opening ceremony, the school's principal, Mr Christoph Zaenglein, said: "We are blessed with wonderful facilities and we want to pay forward the support we have received from the Government, our neighbours and so many other people by making spaces like our auditorium and football field available for community event bookings."

Previously located on two campuses in Jalan Jurong Kechil and Bukit Tinggi Road, the school moved to its current premises in Dairy Farm Lane in July.

Spanning an area of about 30,580 sq m, its other facilities include a black box theatre, pre-school, primary school and secondary school libraries.

It also has a design technology studio that is the first outside Europe to be part of a network promoting interest in engineering among 13-and 14-year-olds.

With more than 1,600 students, aged between 18 months and 18 years, the 47-year-old school offers a German curriculum and an English-speaking International Baccalaureate programme.


The football field at the German European School Singapore. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

In his speech, guest of honour Vivian Balakrishnan, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, pointed to Singapore's longstanding relationship with the European Union, the biggest investor in Singapore and its third-largest trading partner.

HOLDING COMMUNITY EVENTS

We are blessed with wonderful facilities and we want to pay forward the support we have received from the Government, our neighbours and so many other people by making spaces like our auditorium and football field available for community event bookings.

SCHOOL PRINCIPAL CHRISTOPH ZAENGLEIN

He said to the school: "(You can) further integrate yourselves into the local community, provide more activities where the people living in this neighbourhood can feel they are a part of your community, feel a sense of ownership and camaraderie with you."

There are already plans for a professional chef from Germany to conduct a cooking course for local students learning German as a third language, as well as for GESS students.

Mr Zaenglein said: "We hope that this will be a beginning to more such events which will give students from the local community a reason to visit our school and use our facilities too."

Organisations such as swimming schools and a sports programme for underprivileged children are already using the sports facilities at GESS, he added.

Even Olympic champion Joseph Schooling recently took a dip in the GESS pool while shooting footage for a video, he noted.

Mr Zaenglein said the school will vet who gets to use the facilities.

"Every interest group can apply to GESS. However, GESS is aiming for long-term partnerships rather than short-term usage in order to better manage the scheduling and logistics surrounding the usage of the facilities," he told The Straits Times.

Applications will be assessed on criteria such as the values and purpose of the organisation, its target audience and the availability of the facilities, which can be used only outside of school hours, he noted.

GESS is currently not entertaining ad hoc bookings for its sports facilities.

Applicants can send an e-mail to info@gess.sg with their purpose for using the facilities, details of the activities and a brief introduction of their organisations.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 14, 2018, with the headline 'International school opens facilities to local groups'. Print Edition | Subscribe