The English Schools Foundation celebrated the official opening of the new campus of Kowloon Junior School (KJS) at a ceremony on 25 November 2013.
The ceremony started with the presentation of the “9 Dragon” Mosaic and a Lion Dance, followed by ribbon cutting by Mrs Cherry Tse, Permanent Secretary for Education, Carlson Tong, ESF Chairman, Belinda Greer, ESF CEO and Mark Cripps, Kowloon Junior School Principal.
Opened in 1902, KJS is one of the ESF schools with the longest history. It is now one of the largest ESF primary schools with a student population of 900 children and more than a hundred staff. To cope with the huge demand for ESF education, KJS has been operating on a split campus arrangement since the early 1990s, with half of the student body at Perth Street and the other half at Rose Street. With two campuses so far away from each other, school operations and resource allocation became extremely inefficient.
With a vision to redevelop KJS so that the whole student body could be housed under one roof, ESF formally started discussions with EDB in late 2008 to seek the Government’s support in capital funding, which was finally approved by the Legislative Council in February 2011.
The total project cost is about HK$418 million, with approximately HK$157 million contributed by the Government. The new campus is built on the site of the original KJS which had moved there in 1950, and has been carefully designed to cater for the needs of 21st century learners. The new site incorporates everything that a student, teacher or parent could wish for from a primary school, which includes a purpose built gymnasium, a huge library, a large school hall, a drama/dance studio, a spacious music department with class areas and practice rooms, and an art and design area with a large multimedia room. There are also four activity rooms for children with special educational needs.
Mr Mark Cripps, KJS Principal said that the new KJS building is one of the most impressive primary campuses to be found anywhere. Each of the six year group pods (Year 1 to Year 6) plus the Mandarin department, incorporate glass-fronted classrooms that open fully onto a large shared area, allowing for maximum flexibility in terms of the use of learning spaces. The design of the year group spaces fits perfectly and authentically with the philosophy of our curriculum framework – the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP); helping the school to promote collaborative pedagogy and practice for both students and teachers.
The KJS project is the first one for which ESF has attempted to receive Green Building accreditation under the BEAM Plus V1.1 rules. This accreditation forms part of ESF’s social responsibility in support of environmental sustainability. For example, environmental friendly building materials and energy efficient products are used, and there are installations to recycle rainwater for irrigation.