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New European school opens on former NATO site

Illustration shows the security at the entrance of the former Nato headquarters building, in Haren, Brussels, Thursday 03 December 2020. BELGA PHOTO ERIC LALMAND
09:05 07/09/2021

A European school has been opened on the site of the former NATO headquarters in the Haren neighbourhood of Brussels. The school, which currently consists of several prefab buildings, already has room for 600 students.

According to the Buildings Agency, the body responsible for the management ‎‎of the‎‎ real estate assets of the federal state, the capacity will be increased to 1,500 students by November.

Work for the temporary school structures began in March this year. Barely six months later, the school is now open to pupils.

"The project was realised within an unlikely period of time," said Laurent Vrijdaghs of the Buildings Agency. "Without excellent co-operation and the inexhaustible commitment of all parties, this would have been impossible."

The temporary facilities consist of 521 prefab buildings. Of these, the ground floor, the first floor and the kitchen have been completed. The rest will be delivered by mid-November.

When complete, the school will provide a kindergarten with space for 300 children and a primary school for 1,200 pupils. In addition, there will be a sports hall, an infirmary, a library, 30 parking spaces for buses and 150 parking spaces for staff.

Later this month, the roofs will be equipped with 833 solar panels, spread over an area of 1,560 square meters. The panels produce approximately 260,000 kWh of power and will reduce CO2 emissions by 11 tonnes per year. The rainwater is recovered in nine water tanks, capable of storing 180,000 litres.

The construction of the temporary facilities will eventually cost more than €25 million and was funded through a public-private partnership. By 2027, there should be a permanent European School on the same site.


Written by Nick Amies