Saturday, January 23, 2016

Putting 'cool' in school

By Tony Mariadass
Pictures by: Azinuddin Ghazali

IGBIS' rooftop sports complex

Property  developers IGB Corporation Berhad continue to lead the pack.
With many firsts behind them, their present venture into education see them 
make IGB International School’s (IGBIS) sports complex an eye-opener to combat the growing lack of public sporting facilities.
With many fields in the city vanishing in the name of development over the years and even schools losing their playing grounds, IGBIS show a way where sports facilities can exist despite the growing number of buildings coming up taking up prime recreational space.
IGBIS’s sports complex – a FIFA standard artificial football field and international standard eight-lane 400m running track, pavilion and tennis courts - sit on top of their five-storey carpark!
Situated at Sierramas and Valencia - 12km to the north-west of central Kuala Lumpur – IGBIS is on a 10-acre land, with the under construction MRT Sungai Buloh-Kajang line running beside the campus building and a station right in front too.
The sight of the sports complex on top of a five storey left wing building (level 6) besides the seven-storey (right wing) campus building is indeed a sight to behold and be amazed.
A look from the fencing which surrounds the complex will see a six storey drop with the road running below and the MRT station midway between the road and the complex.
The complex accessible from the fifth level of the right wing main building which is the main entrance leads to the five-storey carpark and is also accessible from a separate entrance from a road from the hills of Sierramas and Valencia housing properties.
The campus also has an 8-lane 50 metre international standard swimming pool on level 2 of the right wing. Also located on this level is a fitness and weight training centre.
On level 3 of the right wing it has a very large multi-purpose theatre which can cater for orchestra, dramatic, dance and musical performances with a seating capacity of 540 people.
On level 7, it has an indoor multi-purpose sports hall which is fully air-conditioned which is three full-sized basketball courts big.
Indeed the campus has excellent facilities, for besides sports, it has also outstanding facilities for visual arts, music and technology for its early years to grade 12 (3 years to 18 years-old) international (from as many as 30 countries) and local students for the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme.
IGBIS graciously opens its doors for the usage of its sports facilities to the public, especially the community around the area.
“The owners were not only thinking of a world-class international education campus, but also do community service, by opening the doors for use of the sports facilities to the community here and also public at minimal cost after school hours,” said Primary Year Programme coordinator Simon Millward.
IGBIS assistant marketing manager Arvindar Kaur said those interested to use the facilities can call her up for rates and bookings (03-61454688 ext 4652)
Already the Sunarize Football Academy, who also coach the IGBIS football team, have set up their base at IGBIS and conduct clinics on weekends.
“Sunarize academy work in collaboration with IGBIS and for use of the facilities they give us a certain percentage of their income from their academy,” said Millaward.
“Besides Sunarize academy, we already have local football teams booking the field for friendly football matches and had an overnight run event organised here. The local community too have been patronising our facilities.
“The drainage for the artificial turf is excellent and despite a very heavy downpour, the pitch is usable after 20 minutes.”
The 46-year-old Millward who hails from England and has been teaching in international schools in Europe and Asia said that he has never seen facilities like what IGBIS has.
“When I first saw the sports complex on the roof top, my jaws dropped. I have travelled quite a bit and even in places like Hong Kong where space is an issue, I have only seen basketball or tennis courts on rooftops. But here in IGBIS it is a stadium!” said Millward.
“This is maximum utilisation of space and this concept should be an eye opener to developers and even the education ministry, town and city councils who have problems for space to put up sporting facilities in the wake of the challenge to development.”
It was indeed a well thought off and planned campus by the architect AR Design Management and combined effort by the IGB management board. 

The sporting facilities alone cost around RM3.8 million, while the total cost of building the campus including the sports facilities cost IGB about RM108 million and it took three years to build.
There are still space in the campus for more classrooms and boarding facilities to be added in to accommodate about 1,500 students.
It is indeed an innovative idea by IGBIS to have a sports complex on the rooftop to maximise usage of space and if only we can have a few of these “rooftop complexes’ around the country especially in progressive cities, the woes diminishing fields will be an issue of the past.

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