Director of Pechersk School International John Burns: If I get involved in any educational project in Ukraine again, KAN Development will be the one to develop it.
New academic year in one of the best educational establishments of Ukraine - Pechersk School International (PSI Kyiv) - has been started in the renovated building. Following 15-month overhauling and additional construction, rendered by KAN Development тogether with Design bureau ARCHIMATIKA, new campus of the said educational establishment was opened. The Ukrainian News Agency talked with PSI Kyiv Director John Burns about the functioning of the school and comfort of the new building for both students and teachers.
Mr. Burns, You are known for having considerable expertise in working in international educational establishments in a number of different countries. What were your first impressions from the PSI Kyiv when you first arrived in Kyiv and entered the school?
First of all, far prior to my coming to Kyiv, I had known about excellent indicators this school showed and the results it had. I knew that the level of knowledge received by the students here was very high. PSI Kyiv graduates enter the best educational establishments all around the world.
When I entered the school I realized that both its students and teachers were the best. However, the school's infrastructure needed to be modernized and expanded. The school lacked premises, specialized rooms were somewhat obsolete. The major problem was not that the premises were worn-out: there was merely not enough of them there. Scientific labs and specialized rooms were not big enough.
We did not have a big auditorium where we could gather all the students for various events, concerts and lectures. And which is the most important, we did not have a professional pool.
It may seem too luxurious for educational establishments of Ukraine, however swimming in our network of schools is one of the most important sports for our students. Besides we have built a multi-purpose gym where we can not only train the students from our school but also invite the students from schools from other countries. While drafting the construction project for our school in Kyiv we wanted to reach the same level of material and technical supply as we had in other international schools abroad.
At first, two years ago, the premise of the school really needed an overhaul and modernization. We really wanted the parents of our students to say: "Yes, the school is really great and the school is going so much forward."It would surely be very interesting to compare PSI Kyiv school with same educational establishments in Europe. John what could you tell us about it? How deeply have the conditions in our Kyiv school been changed after the reconstruction conducted by KAN Development?
Yes in fact I have worked in many international schools in different countries. An until recent, to be more precise two years ago, these very educational establishment needed expansion of its material and technical base and some modernization in order to correspond the best educational standards for further fruitful work of our best teachers. Now that the construction has already been successfully completed I have the feeling of satisfaction. Now we have more spacious rooms, we have new equipped labs for biology, chemistry and physics. We also have an auditorium and a perfect pool for our students. The KAN Development company has managed to make all our wishes and ideas come true in the very best way and which is the most important quite timely. You know it'd be impossible to postpone an academic year for a couple of months. I was surprised with the teamwork and professionalism of the developer. Today I can assure you that our school is now absolutely ready for further teaching our students.Why have you decided to address this very company? Is there any history in your corporation?
Every time when you get involved in a construction project you understand it would involve lots of problems. I'm sure that many people used to engage in repairing their homes and realized that very often the result did not always follow the plan. At the same time terms and the quality are usually far from great. That's why the board and we decided to start the reconstruction, we closely studied all the information about and experience of Ukraine construction companies. We found out that the task was a real challenge and that specialization of our facility was even a harder element of that all. And then we set at the negotiating table with KAN Development and our dialogue was quite easy and fruitful. This is a big systemic company and they are great professionals and facilities they have built masterpieces of construction in Kyiv. I'm sure that many have already been to the Ocean Plaza, some people even visited their friends in Comfort Town, Central Park and Tetris Hall residential estates or to hold meetings their friends in the IQ Business Centre. My colleagues would support me in saying that our project was quite different with all the other projects the company had previously been engaged in. There in our school, we had to realize many unique features and we had pretty tight terms for that. KAN Development specialists were the only people who could assure us of making everything on time. To some extent no one really believed that it would be possible: neither the parents, our board nor even myself. I'd like to note that we wanted and did hope that everything would be just great.
Once we started the implementation of the reconstruction project, we realized how professional KAN Development was. The quality of works, level of materials, joint work of a huge team, the terms… I can easily assure you that our cooperation surpassed all imagination! So in case of a need for further construction projects, we know for sure what team to invite.As far as I know you are not only a teacher here but also a top manager?
Yes.The building maintenance costs take much from the budget. How energy-efficient is your new building?
That as part of our project. As far as you can see our school is not that small and is a non-profit organization. That is why we needed to think well before investing our money. We along with the KAN Development specialists paid particular attention to the issues of energy efficiency in order to optimize the expenditures of our organization.I know that here you have special rooms for chemistry and biology. Could you please tell us about those rooms?
Creation of special scientific labs involve providing them with modern equipment which would be very interesting for our students. We also have to meet international standards of safety. Representatives of the lab standardization organizations visit all newly built premises estimate the level of their internal equipping, size and safety. Chemical labs have to correspond to a large number of requirements. Thanks to KAN Development specialists and our professional teachers we managed to realize all the plans we had. That's why we can easily assure everyone that we provide both high standards of education and high level of safety.I believe that you have already had an opportunity to see some other schools in Kyiv. Could you now be confident that your children study in one of the best schools in Kyiv or even in Ukraine?
I think that after the reconstruction PSI Kyiv has become the best educational establishment not only in Ukraine. We are part of the network of schools of the CEESA organization (the one uniting American and international schools in Central and Eastern Europe). I had an opportunity to visit those schools in different cities of Europe from Istanbul to Helsinki. And so as we visit all those schools, we can be now very, very proud of this one. Now we have a venue with new sound, lighting, blackout and we believe they're the best in the city and also within the region.In speaking of the process of reconstruction of the school. How attentive were you choosing the materials used in the construction?
Everybody is interested in the high quality of the materials. Especially when it concerns children. You know we've mentioned the swimming pool, that's something to really worry about… 400 students swimming and so… water temperature, and the chemicals and then even the air temperature… That all is actually automatically run. I do think that when we started the project, and again working with the architect and working with KAN Development high quality was required as well, it was not just about budget, it was not just about money. Although money is always tied up. But we wanted something that also looked great. Every time when I take a group of our parents to the gym, I mean they're are blown away by the gym and what it's like, and the cafeteria and the auditorium and the swimming pool. It's like a new school now. You know the way the children are moving around the school is now different, a lot of our timetable has had to change. So literally you know today the school is totally different than how it was 3 weeks ago. You know everything has changed. For us it's been like starting the school year again this week. Yeah!
Welcome to the renovated Pechersk School International!Source: Ukrainian News