Abu Dhabi: American Community School breaks ground on new campus

State-of-the-art and sustainable campus to be ready by 2023


Ashwani Kumar

Published: Mon 6 Dec 2021, 5:09 PM

A new campus of the American Community School of Abu Dhabi (ACS) is coming up on Saadiyat Island and will be ready by 2023.

The ACS held a ground-breaking ceremony recently for the state-of-the-art, innovative and sustainable campus coming up on six hectares of land. The ceremony coincided with the Year of the 50th celebrations of the UAE and marks almost half a century since the school was first established on land gifted by the Late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Founding Father of the UAE.

Khaldoon Al Mubarak, ACS alumnus, chairman of the Executive Affairs Authority and group CEO of Mubadala, attended the ceremony and noted that ACS “is still a big part” of his life.

“I was in the first graduating class and now, almost 30 years later, my children attend ACS. As a family, we are proud to be part of the school’s long history of academic innovation and excellence,” Al Mubarak said.

Sara Awad Issa Musallam, Chairperson, Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK), Sean Murphy, Chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy Abu Dhabi, Matt Ayoub, ACS alumnus and chair of the ACS board of trustees, Monique Flickinger, ACS superintendent, Mariet Westermann, Vice Chancellor of NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), and Alan Davis, chief executive of Raytheon Emirates, were among the other dignitaries in attendance.

Established in 1972, the ACS is a non-profit, US-accredited college preparatory school serving students between the ages of 4 to 18. Affiliated with the US Embassy, ACS is the only non-profit American school in Abu Dhabi.

Ayoub underlined that the ACS is a “living example” of the long-standing relationship between the US and the UAE.

“We are deeply grateful to the Abu Dhabi government and other key stakeholders that have enabled us to achieve this transformational moment. This new campus is central to our strategy and will ensure that ACS delivers excellence for generations to come.”

The current ACS campus is located in the city’s Khalidiyah neighbourhood. Designed by award-winning international architectural firm Broadway-Malyan, the new campus will be located 400 metres from NYUAD on Saadiyat Island.

ACS will also double the size of its current site and grow to serve 1,600 students annually. Features include design-technology labs focused on robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning and virtual reality, a greenhouse in a fully-equipped science wing that will serve as a hands-on classroom for teaching about food security and energy conservation, a 650-seat professional theatre and an expansive indoor-outdoor art studio and gallery. The athletic complex includes two swimming pools, three full-sized indoor basketball courts, a FIFA-sized football pitch, a six-lane running track and a wellness centre dedicated to social and emotional health.

Flickinger added that the new facility will provide the space for greater innovation, creativity and collaboration to prepare students to thrive as global citizens in an increasingly complex and rapidly-changing world.

“We are committed to sharing our educational learnings and vision with other schools and organisations to do our part in advancing the UAE as an international educational hub.”

ACS recently received a private-sector donation from Raytheon Emirates Limited to help embed technology into its innovation programmes. Davis said the new campus will be a magnet for innovation and a space to showcase excellence in science, technology and the arts.

“Together, we believe we can inspire thousands of students across the region to pursue careers in high demand sectors and advance the government’s strategic priorities for education and innovation.”

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