A temporary European school has been opened on the site of the former NATO headquarters in Haren, in the north of the Brussels-Capital Region, the national Buildings Agency announced.
The works started in March 2021, and the complex was made available for the start of the new school year on 3 September, while waiting for the construction of the permanent fifth European School in Brussels.
"Belgium is in the heart of Europe, so building a European school gives a special feeling," said Mathieu Michel, State Secretary for Digitalisation, in charge of administrative simplification, privacy and buildings management in a press release.
"Today, we are providing a new school that will welcome 1,500 pupils," he added. "This is in line with our desire to provide the pupils of the European Union with the best possible educational environment, thanks to a high-quality infrastructure."
The temporary European School consists of 521 prefabricated buildings (classrooms) that meet the requirements of a European School.
On 3 September, the ground floor, first floor and kitchen were delivered so that the European Schools could start furnishing these rooms, which can accommodate 600 pupils.
In mid-November, the second floor and the sports hall will be completed, as well as the solar panels on the roofs, so that the school can reach its full capacity of 1,500 pupils.
"The site is part of the European School of Brussels II, whose main site is in Woluwe," said Kamila Malik, Director of the European School Brussels II. "Managed by the EEB2 management, it can draw on the experience of its 'parent' school in terms of organisation and practices, thus ensuring quality education from its inception."
"The Evere site accommodates pupils from nursery and primary school (children aged 4 to 11), in French, English, German and Italian sections," she added.
The school includes a pre-school for 300 pupils and a primary school for 1200 pupils. Among the facilities will be a library, rooms for the teaching staff, separate outdoor play areas for the pre-school and primary school, an administrative area, an infirmary, a kitchen for the preparation of 1,500 hot meals and several canteens, and numerous parking places.
Over the course of September, the roofs will be further equipped with 833 solar panels, spread over an area of 1560 m², which will produce around 260,000 kWh and reduce CO2 emissions by 11 tonnes per year.
Additionally, the rainwater is recovered in nine water tanks, good for 180,000 litres.
In total, the works for the temporary school cost more than €25 million, and are financed through a public-private partnership.
The aim is to open this permanent European School in 2027, but the start of construction will depend on receiving the necessary approvals and permits.