By Andy Sambidge
Cranleigh School inks deal with Abu Dhabi developer to open elite campus in 2014
Abu Dhabi's Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC) on Sunday announced a partnership with top UK independent school Cranleigh to open an elite campus on Saadiyat island.
The developer of major tourism, cultural and residential destinations in the UAE capital said the campus would open in the third quarter of 2014.
It added in a statement that by 2014, the crucial education stages - from pre-school up to university level - will be available on Saadiyat.
Built over seven hectares of land, with a capacity to accommodate more than 1,600 students, aged from 3 to 18 years, Cranleigh Abu Dhabi will become the largest school campus in the emirate.
Cranleigh Abu Dhabi will house specialist facilities for music, science, art, design and technology, drama, dance, and sport classes, as well as state-of-the-art IT facilities with the latest technology including electronic tables provided for pupils.
These will be complemented by a shared 650-seat auditorium, 2,900 sq m sports centre and 19,300 sq m of outdoor fields.
Sporting facilities will include two grass pitches, an Astroturf pitch, four tennis courts, two swimming pools and an indoor arena comprising of two full-sized courts, which can be used for basketball, football, badminton, gymnasium, dance studio and drama suite.
Dr Mugheer Khamis Al-Khaili, director general of the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) said: "By attracting leading education institutions such as Cranleigh to Abu Dhabi, we are supporting the Emirate's long-term educational vision."
Mubarak Hamad Al Muhairi, managing director of TDIC, added: "We are proud to have forged this partnership with one the UK's most well-established educational institutions.
"Cranleigh Abu Dhabi will be a centre of excellence in science, arts, technology and Arabic curriculum. This is indeed another remarkable demonstration of how TDIC is partnering with the best in every sector as Abu Dhabi is investing heavily to boost the local educational industry."
Anthony Townsend, chairman of governors at Cranleigh School, said: "This is an exciting venture and the project has unanimous support from the entire Cranleigh community. I congratulate TDIC's leadership and efforts; while, in turn, Cranleigh will play its part in delivering a world-class school of which both Saadiyat and Abu Dhabi can be proud."
Cranleigh Abu Dhabi's announcement is the latest for Saadiyat Island which will also host world-class educational and cultural institutions, such as New York University Abu Dhabi and the inspirational museums designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architects which will open starting with the Louvre Abu Dhabi in 2015, and followed by Zayed National Museum in 2016 and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi in 2017.
The school - designed by Godwin Austen Johnson Architects, the UK-based award-winning architectural firm established in 1847 - is currently in the schematic design phase, which will be ready by the first quarter of 2013.
Cranleigh was founded in Surrey, UK where it has been running for the past 147 years.
I am an Old Cranleighan living in Dubai. My time at Cranleigh in Surrey were some of the best years of my life and I hope that if I'm in the UAE when my children are old enough, that they will be able to enjoy Cranleigh Abu Dhabi in a similar manner.
However truth be told, nothing can replace the original. Nevertheless this is a proud moment.
Does anybody have the address of the Principal for this school in the UK?