Phorms Schule Frankfurt
‘Wow!’ says Filip excitedly, as he enters the classroom on his first day back at school after the summer holidays. He’s in year 7a, which has moved into the brand-new extension. A large, bright classroom, furnished in a modern style and equipped with the latest technology. The walls are snow-white and the view out of the window extends to the Frankfurt skyline – hence the ‘wow!’
Filip and the other students at the Phorms Taunus Campus have been watching the building behind the coloured fence grow since January 2017. In August 2018, the doors opened to the students and teachers so they could settle into the new building.
‘We are a growing school,’ says Jan Fuchs, head of the secondary school. ‘To ensure an optimal learning atmosphere for our students and an optimal teaching environment for our colleagues, we needed more space.’ Now, with a new block on the ample school grounds, Phorms has extended the school building into an elongated ‘L’, with 19 new rooms: ten for the primary school and day care centre, and nine for the secondary school. In addition, the conversion of the former assembly hall means there is an extra room for the entry-level classes. The next stage will see the kindergarten move into extra rooms, meaning a further group of 25 children can be accommodated.
The heart of the new extension is the assembly hall. It takes up the entire ground floor and serves as a dining room and an events venue. At the front, there is an adjustable stage equipped with modern and easy-to-use stage technology. The room seems ‘lofty’, as the ceiling is only suspended in a few places. The deliberately exposed concrete, lighting and ventilation equipment makes the hall look high and spacious.
Standing in the school yard, it is initially hard to tell the new wing and the existing block apart from one another – that is deliberate: ‘Together, the two parts of the building are one school,’ emphasises the administration manager, Jutta Simon. Of course, the existing school building also benefits from the extension: for example, it now houses a lounge for the upper secondary school, with armchairs for breaks, a coffee machine and table football. Rooms supposed to be for specific subjects, which, up until now, have had to serve as ordinary classrooms, can once again be used for their official purpose.
A further beneficiary is the library: whereas the secondary school and the primary school used to share one room, now there are two separate ones. As a result, the secondary school library has been transformed into a modern yet homely space for reading and studying, where, in addition to the books, there are computer workstations, reading chairs and cushions, all bathed in warm light from standard lamps.
The school year is under way, all is back to normal and the first scuff marks have started to appear on the walls of the new rooms. Nevertheless, every school day in year 7a’s new home still starts with a small ‘wow’.