SINGAPORE - In an unusual move, an international school is offering the use of its facilities, including the swimming pool, to community organisations.
The German European School Singapore (GESS) officially opened its new $135 million campus in Dairy Farm Lane on Thursday (Sept 13).
As part of efforts to give back to the community, the school is making its Olympic-sized swimming pool, football field, cooking laboratory and 400-seat auditorium available for use to groups that write in with their requests.
In a speech at the opening ceremony, school principal Christoph Zanglein 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."
The school moved to its current premises in July. It was previously located in two campuses at Jalan Jurong Kechil and Bukit Tinggi Road.
The new campus includes a pre-school, primary school and secondary school.
It also boasts a Design Technology Studio that is the first outside Europe to be part of a network promoting engineering interest 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.
In his speech, the guest of honour, Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, noted Singapore's longstanding relationship with the European Union, the biggest investor in Singapore and third-largest trading partner.
He urged the school to "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 deliver a cooking course to local students learning German as a third language, as well as GESS students.
Mr Zänglein 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, Mr Zänglein said.
Even Olympic champion Joseph Schooling recently took a dip in the GESS pool, he noted.
"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," Mr Zänglein 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.
The facilities can be used only outside of school hours.
GESS is currently not entertaining ad hoc bookings for its sports facilities.
Applicants can drop an e-mail to email@example.com with their booking intent, details of the activities and a brief introduction to the organisation that wishes to use the facilities.