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The New Ziadeh Sawwaf Preschool Building

Richard Bampfylde

Tuesday, June 11: In the presence of the two major donors for this new school facility, IC was pleased to officially inaugurate the new Preschool building on the Ras Beirut campus at a ceremony attended by Chairman Mr Don Selinger, Vice-Chairman Mr Imad Taher and President Dr Don Bergman as well as a multitude of key Lebanese figures, including Dr Fadlo Khuri, President of AUB. The Ziadeh Sawwaf building is a fantastic facility and Preschool students have been learning in the much larger classrooms since January, thoroughly enjoying their new surroundings, in fact in their new second home! 

It is thanks to the very generous support of Mr Mu'taz Sawwaf, IC Board Member, and Mr Basim Ziadeh, Alumnus of PREP School and IC, that the new building has been made possible. Both from IC's class of '69, they were each presented with a replica of the new building carrying their name at the ceremony. 

At the inauguration evening, Mr Sawwaf said: "It gives me immense pride to be back here on these premises, not to walk into the classroom like I did in 1962, but to actually inaugurate classrooms for generations to come. The IC Spirit had already been instilled in us and our paths only led us back here, giving back to our family our country and of course to our community." He continued his short address, to say: "With my dearest wife Rada and my sweetheart daughter Maymouna, who joined IC one year ago (now grade CE2), we are here to give back to IC, and hope that my daughter follows my footsteps, in her own way of course, to contribute to IC and her community in any way she can." 

Mr Ziadeh commented: "While trying to compare the past and present, one thing that has not changed and in fact developed magnificently is the campus of the school and I must say that I am very proud to have been able to contribute to this. The donations to these buildings are only a start and Mu'taz and I have committed to continue on this mission. We will establish a two million dollar endowment fund for the maintenance of the buildings, to assist needy students, and to make sure the students with special needs have a place here too."

The new building carries the US Green Building Council's LEED Gold award, for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. This further highlights IC's commitment to sustainability and providing present and future generations with much reason to be optimistic at a time when climate change becomes more and more pressing. The new building is fitted with a great many techniques designed both to mitigate and adapt to climate change. 

The IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) at the Preschool will be further enriched in the school's new setting, with the larger, state-of-the-art classrooms and other sections lending themselves very well to the curriculum's inquiry-based, student-driven methodology. 

With IC's oldest buildings dating back to 1911 (Sage) and 1913 (Rockefeller and Thomson), and still standing the test of time as they are still very much in use, here's to the next 100 years and more for the Ziadeh Sawwaf Preschool building!