Cayman International School opened the doors of its new high school building this week, welcoming 160 returning high school students in grades nine through 12, its highest enrollment in the division to date. The high school expansion was completed in partnership with Dart and the school’s governing body International Schools Services and marks the final phase of a $60 million investment by the Kenneth B. Dart Foundation to double the capacity of the school.
The three-storey building spans nearly 100,000 square feet with 22 new classrooms, which include a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) lab, four science labs, a technology lab, an art lab, band room, choir room and mixed-use classroom.
In addition to those spaces are five music practice rooms, 12 collaboration spaces, a black-box theatre, video production room, library, video production room, multi-purpose gymnasium, fitness room, faculty offices, open floor spaces on all three levels, a courtyard, fully-equipped kitchen, and accessibility features including an elevator.
The school’s Director, Jim Urquhart, explains how the spaces collectively allow people to learn and work together in a fluid fashion.
“Learning is at once an introspective and a social endeavor and having these creative spaces allow people to collaborate in small and large groups or quietly reflect in equal measure,” said Urquhart. “These additional indoor and outdoor spaces allow for progressive and purposeful programme expansion in the high school, as well as school wide. Thus, we have space to match our increased enrollment and high interest in our growing school community.”
CIS’ high school curriculum follows the school’s modern approach to education based on American and International standards that are designed to prepare students for entrance into colleges and universities around the world. Among the high school’s curriculum options is the globally-recognised International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.
The new facilities were designed by US-based architectural firm Perkins + Will to provide a customised learning environment for lessons and extra-curricular activities. Rooms such as the STEAM Lab allow for a range of learning and teaching opportunities such as using 3D and laser printers, engaging in robotics or conducting research.
The visual and performing arts rooms are fitted with acoustic panels, padded floors, and ventilation for proper use of a kiln.
The completion of the high school building marks the end of a two-year expansion project that includes the new Early Childhood Centre which opened in August 2019. The new facilities have allowed the elementary and middle school divisions to expand within the original campus, adding an extra class per grade and increasing the school’s overall capacity to nearly 1100 students.
Since moving to Camana Bay in 2006 as the town centre’s first tenant, Cayman International School has grown its student body from 206 to 820 today.
“Dart has a longstanding commitment to education and by partnering with International School Services, we continue to fulfill our shared vision of creating world-class education opportunities for students in the Cayman Islands,” said Ian Downing, Dart’s chief financial officer and director of the Kenneth B. Dart Foundation. “The first generation of graduates from CIS is now in the workplace and we are looking forward to seeing many more join each year. Investing in education is an investment in our future.”