The new ZIS middle school building is currently being built near the upper school. Many students are curious about how the new building will affect them. The middle school is due to be finished by August 2022. This means that students will be in the building for the school year of 2022-2023.
Many questions have been raised regarding the changes that will be implemented. I spoke to Maira Hoffmann, Upper School Office Manager, about what students can expect to happen within the upcoming years to support the new building. I asked Ms Hoffmann a variety of questions to better understand ZIS’ plans.
I first asked, will there be schedule changes to prepare for the new building? “So, we’ve basically already gone in that direction when we changed our schedule to 65 minutes for this year. One of the reasons for doing that is because it’s the same length as middle school classes”. Ms Hoffman informed me that this decision was made so that high level Middle School students can possibly join an Upper School level class to accommodate their needs. Next year we will also not have a rotating schedule (week 1, week 2), we will only have week 1. There are a few other minor changes to the schedule (exclusively 5 minute passing times, school begins at 8:50, and 10 minute flex at 15:30 rather than 20 minutes at 14:25).
Next I asked Ms Hoffmann if flexes will still be a part of our schedule in the upcoming years. “I would think that (flex blocks) would be staying in the schedule because of IB HL classes and making sure they get the required amount of additional hours of schooling over the course of the year, that’s the reason flex was created in the first place”. Meaning we will likely not be saying goodbye to our 20 minute flexes any time soon.
Many students have also been curious about whether or not the Upper School will be accessible to Middle School students, and if the new Middle School will be accessible to Upper School students. Ms Hoffann disclosed that nobody is sure yet, however the new library, which is in between buildings will be shared. And of course high level students will be able to take Upper School classes. “There will certainly be more restrictions for the younger kids. For example they should not come here (the upper school) to buy coffee from the coffee machine”. Apart from this, we do not yet know if gyms, cafeterias, etc will be shared between campuses.
The final question I presented was will the number of students at ZIS increase with the amount of space in the new Middle School? The answer was yes, due to the difference in space between the villa in Kilchberg and the new building more students can be enrolled in the Middle School. “The new middle school definitely allows for an increase in enrollment, the current middle school is actually ⅓ overenrolled”. Not as many students can be enrolled as you may expect, because the villa is very crowded, and even with the added space ZIS cannot enroll students accordingly. Ms Hoffmann also told me that “we’re actually over enrolled in the upper school too” so we should not expect changes in student numbers here over the next few years.
There is a lot to look forward to with regards to the new campus. Being in closer proximity with the younger students, a larger library, more space overall, and no construction!