Update on new school at Evere
Written by Giles Houghton-Clarke, President of the Board
Designs have been finalised; it will be a two-story structure separated into two buildings with a covered outside area between. The area surrounding the buildings will be free of all vehicles, except for a Service lane for deliveries, which is separated from the area where children will play.
In total there will be 64 classrooms, most of 70m2 each – significantly bigger than the classrooms we have at Woluwe. In additional there will also be spacious rooms for Arts, Music and IT and a large Infirmary. There are also other spaces for library etc.
The canteen area is 980m2– which gives about 1.4m2 per pupil – also more space than we have at Woluwe.
There will be a parking area at the front, for parents and visitors – which is completely separated from the school grounds to avoid mixing vehicles with children. The school buses will use a space adjacent to this – also completely separated from the playground and school area. We have yet to have confirmation about the number of bus parking spaces and have expressed concern that the initial figure of 30 is insufficient. We will keep you informed about this. There are also outstanding questions about certain facilities for the bus parking area – such as the availability of toilets and covered spaces for children and others when it rains. These are still under discussion.
Two big issues that have concerned parents are the impact of the terrorism trials taking place next door in the ex-NATO premises, and the presence of asbestos. On the first topic, we await confirmation from the Belgian government on this (still). What we can say regarding safety of the school site however, is that it includes a range of security gates and fences and full on-site video surveillance.
With respect to asbestos, we are told that there is no asbestos on the site itself. Should there be asbestos in the ex-NATO premises next door, full measures will be taken to ensure that this is contained within that site, when it comes to be demolished for the hoped for 5th school.
At present, the delivery date for the Evere school is end August 2021. As many have noted this is extremely close to the start of term. Whilst the Régie des Bâtiments is confident that delivery will happen on or before this date, it is worth noting that the project is already delayed by several weeks whilst outstanding environmental permits are secured. Work on contingency plans, as a precautionary exercise, has now started at the level of the ‘Steering Committee Brussels’ (the Committee that addresses school capacity issues for the European schools in Brussels – formerly known as the ‘Group de Suivi.’).
Meanwhile enrolments are proceeding and as of now there is strong interest in the Evere site, with around 50% of all applications specifically requesting it. As a reminder, only families new to the European schools are able to enrol at Evere – all other pupils will be automatically grouped with their siblings – unless specifically otherwise requested by parents.
We will keep you updated !