Wednesday, October 16, 2019

U City building major international school next to Thana City

Sep 19. 2019
Cameron Fox, the Founding Head of VERSO International School
Cameron Fox, the Founding Head of VERSO International School
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By THE NATION

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U City Plc, an affiliate of BTS Group Holdings Plc, and Fortune Hand Ventures Ltd of Hong Kong have announced a Bt5-billion investment in Verso International School, whose state-of-the-art campus will occupy a vast property next to the Thana City estate in eastern Bangkok and which is set to open in August 2020.

The school will have capacity for 1,800 students from pre-nursery to Grade 12.

“It is my long-term goal to create something that will benefit future generations, not only to add value to our business,” said Keeree Kanjanapas, chairman of BTS Group Holdings and U City.

“I have always aimed to invest in human resources, and eventually found the right partner, Fortune Hand Ventures, to build an international school that truly provides an innovative and highly progressive educational experience in Bangkok.

“At the same time, we are transforming one of the company’s assets next to our Thana City estate on Bangna-Trat Road into a value-accretive property for the future. Located on 168 rai, this is set to become the largest international school in the Bangkok metropolitan area. It will be approximately 60 per cent green space to provide students with comfort, emotional safety, and intellectual and artistic inspiration.”

Keeree Kanjanapas, chairman of the board of directors of BTS Group Holdings Plc and U City Plc

Fortune Hand Ventures’ participation represents the largest single foreign investment in international schooling in Thailand.

With experience in education dating back over half a century, Fortune Hand Ventures will directly operate the school under the stewardship of founding headmaster Cameron Fox.

The starting point for the project, said Fox, was a simple question: How can we design a new international school that will truly prepare its students for a world that is changing faster than at any other time in human history?

He invited the global design and innovation firm Ideo to help imagine what such a school of the future could and should be.

“Working closely with Ideo’s San Francisco studio, a highly talented team used a human-centred design approach to create Verso’s dynamic and compelling vision for the future,” Fox said. “The opportunity to design and build a school of this magnitude from scratch represents a unique opportunity for the Verso team to positively impact the future of school designs on a global scale.

“We have re-engineered a comprehensive set of American educational standards to form the foundation for Verso’s own ‘Future-Ready’ curriculum. Learning will be interdisciplinary, project-based, and skills-focused.”

Cameron Fox

Verso comes at an opportune moment in the wake of structural shifts in the global economy towards Asia and Thailand’s ongoing efforts to digitise its economy. Leading organisations and companies are seeking a new generation of leaders and innovators who have the skills and mindset needed to respond quickly to change while positively impacting the world around them.

Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor, which is projected to attract up to 100,000 people to the region annually, is increasing the need for international schools in the eastern part of Bangkok. This reality has influenced U City’s decision to transform its property into an innovative international school that will cater to this anticipated economic growth.

According to the International Schools Association in Thailand, the Kingdom is Southeast Asia’s fastest-growing international school market, with double-digit growth for the past eight years.

Piyaporn Phanachet, chief executive of U City, said the school will be just four kilometres from Suvarnabhumi Airport and close to future Light Rail Transit on the Bangna-Suvarnabhumi line.

Thana City and the surrounding area are poised to become a top-class community ecosystem with an extensive range of amenities within easy reach. This will include condominiums and homes and shopping and lifestyle destinations such as Mega Bangna, Central Village, Thana City’s world-class golf course, restaurants and the newly opened Eastin Thana City Golf Resort.

Piyaporn Phanachet, Chief Executive Officer of U City Plc

 

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