The Cayman International School at Camana Bay is on schedule for opening at the beginning of the 2006-07 school year.
The new US$20 million facility will provide about 57,000 square feet of floor space on a 13.2-acre campus.
‘I’m ecstatic. I can’t wait to get in there,’ said Principal Greg Hedger, who has said the new school will be the best facility in which he has ever worked.
‘You can provide a good education [in any school] but when you have good space and good facilities, it’s amazing the difference it can make,’ Mr. Hedger said.
Phase 1 of the new school will be completed by this September when the new school year begins.
Mr. Hedger said that two classroom complexes, the administration/library building and a building with two labs for art, science or music will be completed by the time the new school opens.
Phase 1B, which includes a sports field and a 25-metre swimming pool, will be completed some time next fall, Mr. Hedger said.
A multi-purpose building with a gymnasium and cafeteria, which is part of Phase 2, will be completed in 2007, Mr. Hedger said.
Upon completion, the school will boast four classroom complexes that house nursery-school-aged children right up through grade 12.
The students will share the two classroom complexes to begin with but eventually children in the nursery school, primary school, middle school and high school will be housed in their own complex.
Courtyards next to each classroom complex will be geared toward the age group of the students.
Eventually, there will be two science labs, two music labs and two art labs at the school, as well as basketball courts and tennis courts.
When the new school opens in September, there will be approximately 230 students, Mr. Hedger said.
The construction of the other two classroom complexes, which will raise the school’s capacity to about 450 students, is dependent on the school hitting a certain growth number.
Mr. Hedger thinks that CIS might hit that number fairly quickly.
‘At this point in time, we’re processing from five to 10 applications per week,’ he said. ‘Most of the classes are hitting their space capacity already.’
The Cayman International School offers an American-based curriculum and is accredited through the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges.
CIS is also applying to become and internationally backed laureate school, which provides a diploma that is internationally recognised, Mr. Hedger said.
‘We’re committed to providing a rigorous academic environment,’ Mr. Hedger said, adding that the school also wants to make sure every student feels cared about.
Mr. Hedger said many people believe it is individual teachers that provide a quality education, but that CIS believes it is the school that provides the quality education by getting the teachers to do what they want in providing that education.
Long before there was talk about Cayman’s government schools adopting a long-term strategic plan, CIS already had one, Mr. Hedger said.
‘We’ve been doing that for quite a while.’
Part of CIS’s strategic plan is to have its students meet certain levels of average test scores when compared to other students in the United States taking the Iowa Test Basic Skills exam.
CIS students enrolled for the 2005-06 school year scored well above the national average on those tests.
In addition, the school wants to better prepare its students for university and careers through improved college-entrance exam scores, their involvement in extra-curricular activities and enrolment in enrichment courses.
‘I see us as a school that’s constantly planning for the future,’ Mr. Hedger said.