Current state of the project / progress
In December 2016, the planning of the architecture by the ETH team under the direction of Prof. Dirk E. Hebel was completed with a ready-to-go, realizable project. The adaptation to the local regulations and the approval of the project were also finalized in spring 2017. In April 2017, the earthworks started. First of all, the whole school area had to be raised. The construction site is huge and we will be moving 600’000 m3 of soil. The result is a lake of 110,000m3 which will be used for the irrigation of our agricultural projects in the future. Although the rainy season, which had started too early, leads to delays, we are sure to be able to take up the school operation with the kindergarten and the first school year in November17.
In January, our carpentry team has built a model schoolhouse. The load bearing structure and roof construction have passed the static stress test without problems. The school house is currently being used as a warehouse for the wood and material and after completion of the building, it will be used as a school campus. In the carpenter’s workshop, more than 30 people, led by Swiss carpenters Tobias Blessing, Lukas Koch and Carpenter & Architect Lukas Thalmann on the preparation of the supporting structure and roof construction for the Village School Project. The construction of the New School is very labor intensive. Weekly adjustments in reference to the design details must be discussed with ETH and are on the agenda as well as regular meetings with the local contractors. Time sequences must be planned and adhered to.
At the same time, the PH Zurich is developing a curriculum and starting with the training of the first local teachers. In the office in Phnom Penh, the recruitment of teachers for the new school is in full swing. Sam, the director of the school, is responsible for the tender for the students, tutorial, training of the teachers, timetable, design of the school uniforms, furnishing, ordering the school materials, etc. We will hold monthly conference calls with the PH Zurich. In September, the first Swiss teacher will be going to Cambodia for six month to support the local teachers.