Over the past several years, as enrollment at NIS kept creeping up, the school needed innovative ways to allocate spaces for learning, discussions, meetings, performances, and more. To address that need and finally realize a dream seeded by the founders of the school in the early 1960s, NIS broke ground on July 11, 2018, to build the new East Building.
A Need Met and A Dream Realized
The East Building will provide that much-needed space for our students. But what is not so widely understood is that the East Building is not just another set of classrooms where students can sit in rows to be taught. It is a design concept embedded in the research on collaborative learning and social constructivism. Through the East Building, not only will NIS have more space, but it will mean that our campus as a whole has the right kinds of spaces to enable us to collaborate as we deliver on our mission to inquire, inspire, impact and include.
Multi-Purpose Hall (MPH)
The MPH is the jewel in the crown of the new East Building. Depending on the need, the room can convert, with the touch of a button, from an open-floor PHE (Physical and Health Education) space to a performing arts space with a stage, auditorium seating,*, and even an orchestra pit! This space will be the perfect place to hold assemblies, presentations, graduations, tests, drama and musical productions, and more. NIS will finally have the world-class auditorium it has deserved for years!
The Kawanabe Room (Multi-Purpose Room)
The Kawanabe Room, named after one of the architects who designed the building but tragically passed away only a few months before its opening, is an open, collaborative space on the second floor that flows from the East lobby on one side, to the spacious balcony on the other. Learning and community cannot be confined to classrooms, and this flexible space is the ideal breakout room for classes to combine on interactive projects or for teachers, parents, and students to forge new ways of thinking for our school and community.
The East Lobby will welcome students from the courtyard between the Raymond and Wing buildings into the new East Building, and for most, it will feel like the ‘main entrance.’ It will host a satellite kitchen where students can grab a light bite for lunch or a quick snack after school. There will be chairs and seating, but not just for eating. This flexible space can be used for collaboration and group projects, study time, or use by after school clubs. And the seating is flexible enough that it can all be removed for yet one more open space for larger gatherings if needed. We hope that the East Lobby will become the new hub for social connection - a place to gather, without needing to book in advance - simply to share, socialize, collaborate, and innovate!
East Roof Deck
Another purposefully designed area for collaborative space is located on the top floor. The East Roof Deck is a semi-enclosed space offering an open-air area for recess and collaboration on rainy (or sunny!) days. Our school community is excited to explore new and innovative ways to share this open air space.
Designed for a Purpose
The New East Building was deliberately and artfully designed in a way not just to fit more kids onto our campus. On the contrary - it has been designed to liberate the passions, dreams, creativity, and innovation of our students and staff by investing in the flexibility and openness of space necessary for ideas to thrive and identities to evolve. The East Building is not just ‘another building.’ It is the culmination of a mission to Inquire, Inspire, Impact, and will deliver to future generations of students the promise of a mission that places learning and well-being at the center of all we do.
Read here to learn more about how learning spaces impact education and our mission at NIS.