School wins approval for HK$900m expansion

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 11 January, 2014, 4:12am
UPDATED : Saturday, 11 January, 2014, 4:58am

A plan to redevelop Hong Kong International School's lower primary campus in Repulse Bay has been approved by all departments, the school said yesterday.

Due to begin in June, the HK$900 million project is designed to create 200 additional primary places when it is finished in 2017. The new building will feature a swimming pool, gymnasium, cafeteria and kitchen, 750-seat auditorium and a residential tower with 56 faculty apartments, according to the plan, and the classrooms will also be bigger.

"HKIS has received the necessary [official] approvals to move forward with the redevelopment of our Lower Primary building," head of school Kevin Dunning said. "This is a critical step as the school moves forward with a master facilities plan that will extend into the next decade."

Opened in 1975, the Lower Primary School has been providing services for children aged four to eight. Its 650 pupils and 60 staff will move temporarily to the school's Tai Tam campus, home to its secondary branches.

The school said the money would come from its major projects fund, which includes funds raised through past debenture sales, past capital levies and capital gifts. A capital fundraising campaign would also help.

Any future tuition-fee increases would not be related to the project, it said. The school is also planning to redevelop its Tai Tam campus to add another 300 secondary places, as well as redeveloping its upper primary campus in Repulse Bay.

The Education Bureau said last year that there would be a shortage of about 4,200 international school primary places by 2016. The government last year granted three sites for international schools, which will provide more than 1,000 places.

But new initiatives to fill the shortage are not expected in Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's policy address on Wednesday next week, sources familiar with the education plan said.

Last year, HKIS rejected two temporary sites in Chai Wan and Hung Hom offered by the Education Bureau, citing transport inconveniences, which halted the project for about a year.