In order to build a better future, a school needs to update its facilities. This is what Shanghai Community International School (SCIS) is currently achieving with its Master Renovation Plan. The work for this ongoing project is being completed during school holidays, and so far, enhancements to the Hongqiao Early Childhood, Hongqiao Lower School and Performing Arts Centre, and the Pudong campus are being wrapped up.
“The SCIS Master Renovation Plan is aimed at creating spaces that align with the values and aspirations of our community,” says Daniel Eschtruth, Director of Schools. “I am pleased to announce that the plan is progressing steadily, and we have made significant strides in the planning and design phases.”
The main priority of this project is to create student-centred spaces that are both inclusive and inspiring. These will resonate with SCIS’s collective values, which include consultations with education experts, architects and the SCIS community. The spaces will be less restrictive, offering great flexibility and variability. Rebuilding the campus spaces will increase active engagement and participation, improving social interactions among teachers and students. It also gives more room for personal reflection and contemplation. What has been completed so far shows how this ambitious undertaking is not just about academics but the development of well-rounded students.
In 2022, the SCIS Hongqiao ECE campus was improved with new learning studios for five existing classrooms, including an exploration lab mainly for cooking and art, dedicated sensory classrooms and a new teacher workspace. These additions were created to support the school’s mission of igniting inquiry and curiosity in its young learners. Over this summer, the Lower School division on the SCIS Hongqiao Main campus underwent significant structural changes. With more space, numerous additions were made, such as community hubs, learning labs, a student support room and a counselling suite.
The SCIS Master Renovation Plan has been in the works for the last two years — and it’s important to recognise it as more than just another construction project by a school. SCIS sees its enhancement of facilities, landscapes and resources as a crucial step forward. “The SCIS Master Renovation Plan reflects our roots of ‘collaboration’, ‘community’ and ‘caring’ while also focused on physical updates to reflect our seamless move into the future of learning,” Eschtruth says. “It aims to create sustainable, vibrant, and adaptable spaces that foster collaboration, innovation and academic growth.”
The SCIS Master Renovation Plan aims to achieve three Cs. The first is collaboration, as the spaces are designed to spark meaningful connections through cross-cultural and collaborative exchanges. This empowers students, helping them create meaningful bonds with each other in both physical and digital realms. Then there’s creativity — spaces that ignite a sense of adventure and innovation through vibrant colours, effective lighting, and engaging surroundings. Finally, under caring, designs put a child’s academic and social needs first.
The architecture of SCIS designs embodies all these three Cs and span across all three campuses. With a refreshed vision, the new learning environment will revolutionise the way students perceive and absorb knowledge. In terms of landscape, nature is incorporated seamlessly to give young learners a fresh and inspirational space. In fact, the renovated interiors are going to champion sustainability by using eco-firendly materials and energy-efficient fixtures. Marrying elements of traditional learning areas with flexible modern spaces, the new designs allow for various teaching styles.
Naturally, comfort is also taken into account. Elements such as ergonomic seating as well as state-of-the-art technology are included. The classroom is no longer limited too, as they are transformed into cosy zones that make it easy for children to team up, hone skills, and apply what they’ve learned.
Ultimately, these changes will result in a more secure and nurturing setting where children can achieve their full potential. As a trusted sanctuary away from home, SCIS provides a compassionate space where safety is paramount. “While the Master Renovation Plan is an ambitious undertaking, we have developed a phased approach to ensure minimal disruptions to the learning process,” Eschtruth says. “Our priority is to create a seamless transition for our students and maintain a conducive environment for their growth and well-being.”