The Dart group is planning a “major expansion” of the Cayman International School, which is struggling to meet growing demand for places.
Dart has applied to clear 17 acres of land adjacent to the school ahead of what it described as an “accelerated construction schedule.”
Principal Jeremy Moore said there are waiting lists for places at almost every age group in the early childhood and junior sections.
He said he would like to be able to increase capacity at the school, from the current 625 children ages 2 to 18, to around 1,100.
“There is definitely a need to grow the school. The wait lists are getting longer and longer, particularly in the elementary school and pre-K,” Mr. Moore said.
There are currently between two and three classes in each age group.
Mr. Moore added, “What we think is tenable for the school and a service for the island is to grow to a four-section school. That’s the vision we have.”
The school is part of the U.S.-based International Schools Association, though the buildings are owned by Dart.
Mr. Moore said he is working closely with Dart’s design team, but ultimately the future growth of the facility is down to them. He would like to see the different elements of the school split into separate purpose-built areas, potentially including an early childhood center.
Improved arts and sports facilities are also needed, he believes, to further improve the school.
“There is potential, if the school were to expand and build some key facilities, for this to be a world-class international school, not just in the Caribbean, but beyond. Right now, it has limitations due to size,” Mr. Moore said.
He said growing the school is important from an economic as well as a social perspective.
“Some people will choose to relocate or not to Cayman based on the quality and affordability of education for their children, so if we have an expanded, even higher-quality facility, then inherently you are going to attract people who might not have otherwise decided to come here. Just adding seats could be a very important aspect for the community.”
Population growth has been steady over the past few years, with new demand for places coming from expatriates, who are not allowed to send their children to public school, and Caymanians who elect to send their children to the school.
He said the school’s test scores are good, higher than the international school average in the International Baccalaureate exams, and graduates are consistently getting into top-tier universities in the U.S. and the U.K.
Increased numbers have also helped the school participate in new programs, including the model United Nations program, community service trips to central America and international athletic competitions.
Mr. Moore said further growth would open up more academic and extracurricular options.