Currently under construction near WAB, the new French International School of Beijing is being built with blocking smog in mind, a move that can’t come soon enough for parents and students who are anxious about pollution levels that make last APEC Blue feel like a distant memory.
The new campus for the French School will include a cutting edge ventilation system designed to pump "filtered and purified air into every classroom and the rest of the building," according to a recent South China Morning Post story.
That system will be further augmented by a high-tech pressurization system that will constantly increase the air pressure in classrooms, so that pollution will be staved off "even if the doors were open.”
The new school, which broke ground recently and is due to open for students in the spring of 2016, is yet another of Beijing’s international schools that are taking advanced measures to provide pollution protection for their students.
This past February, CNN ran a story about The International School of Beijing’s installation of two $5 million domes designed to shield off outdoor play areas from smog, which it said allowed "students to play and exercise year-round.” The article added that the domes, while costly, were satisfactory to the school’s administration and students body because "until the skies clear, life in the bubble seems surprisingly good.”
WAB, BSB Shunyi and Dulwich College have also taken the plunge to introduce anti-pollution domes for their students.
The SCMP piece noted that other local schools, like Harrow, have also installed air purifying technology in their classrooms.
However, the architect of The French International School’s expansion, Jacques Ferrier, said that its simply not possible to make buildings 100% impenetrable to smog. "The problem of air pollution in Beijing can’t be treated by architecture alone. It has to be addressed at an urban scale, with cleaner factories, a huge incentive for electric vehicles and better public transport systems."
Until such broader solutions are reached, a French Embassy spokesperson told The Global Times that the French School’s new filtration system will be indispensable because: “… [it]will ensure optimal sanitary conditions that will allow all pedagogic activities to take place even in the event of an air pollution peak.”
The new campus will be under construction for the next 13 months to complete. Once open, The school’s current three locations in Sanlitun for primary, middle and high school students will close and all students will attend the new facility together.