The Western Academy of Beijing community is celebrating the grand re-opening of its Middle School campus.
A community-wide accomplishment, students, staff and parents worked together with the school to conceptualize new learning spaces, common areas and external landscape. Former WAB Board Member Jenny Mendoza offered her expertise and design work, and more than 3 million RMB in funds were raised through community donations at the 2013 WAB Gala, two generous gifts from WAB families, and many staff contributions.
"We are so thrilled to have worked together with our school community to create a truly inspirational school for our Middle School students and teachers," said Principal Marina Frias. "Not only will the building offer optimized teaching and learning spaces, but it also showcases an innovative and environmentally friendly design."
From the bold "MS" lettering, colorful panels and new landscape welcoming people at the entrance, the new look and feel of the Middle School exudes the character of WAB.
"I feel energized walking in and being surrounded by sunlight and color," said Middle School teacher Melissa Roosen. "The learning spaces are designed to be flexible and open so students can create an environment where they feel comfortable and focused."
Improvements go far beyond appearance. Renovations include:
- Structural repairs and additions to open up learning spaces, offering larger classrooms, offices and common areas
- Larger internal/external windows and doors to invite more natural sunlight into the building
- Installation of new ventilated and waterproof roofing to remove heat, save energy, and reduce costs
- Adhesive 'white-board' materials cover classroom walls transform sections into presentation platforms and public working spaces
- Suspended ceilings to improve acoustics and control sound within and between classrooms
- New LED lighting to improve classroom, office and library environments
- Carpeted areas replaced with polished granite floor in the library and premium sheet vinyl in the classrooms
- Redesigned washroom facilities
- Newly paved and landscaped areas
All of the upgrades were made with premium quality and non-toxic materials that meet strict international standards. They came from well-known companies like 3M, Dulux and Armstrong.
"The windows make the library much brighter and it feels like a roomier, more comfortable place to be," said Grade 8 student Oscar Shiel. "And the Galleri area is much brighter too, which I like."