West Wing Topping Out Ceremony

“Hamburg has its own West Wing!” declared Dr. Michael Voges, Staatsrat at Hamburg’s Behörde für Schule und Berufsbildung and special guest of honor at the topping out ceremony for ISH’s ongoing construction project, which will add class rooms, science labs, a second gym hall and much more on approx. 3.100 square meters.

“(…) even if this one does not come with an  Oval Office and is probably not a center of world power (yet!), it doubtlessly enables the school to provide exciting education in generously designed surroundings” Dr. Voges then added with a smile to the cheers of the audience, which consisted of members of the school community, construction workers and -companies as well as representatives of the school authorities, the U.S. Consulate, the media and many more.

“The International School of Hamburg is an important institution in our city. As a growing economic metropolis Hamburg relies increasingly on skilled personnel who in a globally connected world originate from foreign countries more and more. (…) This school has pupils from over 50 nationalities who study not only next to but with each other. And they learn much more than mere language skills, algebra, science or history. (…) one of the most important assets from which children and young adults at the International School of Hamburg can benefit their whole life is open-mindedness towards fellow humans, their cultures, languages and religions. Diversity does not need to be evoked emphatically here; it is natural basis and the rule rather than the exception. The terrible incidents in Paris last week as well as the ongoing xenophobic demonstrations of PEGIDA in Dresden, prove how important these live changing experiences are - now more than ever. (…)” Dr. Voges concluded.

Prior to the speech of the Staatsrat, Dr. Anke Frieling, Chairman of the Board of ISH, had taken the opportunity to explain the motives for ISH’s expansion:

“(...) Soon after we had moved into the new building in 2010 we saw our student numbers grow continuously, which confronted us with a lack of class room space. At the heart of our analysis of that development was the question: will student numbers continue to grow? A very difficult question for an international school as the answer very much depends on international economic development and trends. After a thorough investigation supported by outside experts and extensive debate the Board decided to increase ISH’s capacity to 800 students. If we had not opted for the West Wing we would have faced a cut-off limit of 750 students in the very near future. This would not only have meant individual hardships for the affected students and their families, but also an obstacle to attracting international managers and investments to Hamburg. (...)“


Needless to say, both speakers thanked everyone involved in making ISH’s new West Wing a reality including the construction workers, the architects, the construction company, the Head of School and the Business Manager. Dr. Frieling also added the City of Hamburg to that list, which supports the project with a significant sum.

Finally the foreman took over the floor for the traditional Richtfest speech: A humorous excursion featuring facts and anecdotes surrounding the construction, accompanied by several high-proof toasts and concluded by tossing the shot glas into a corner. This heralded the opening of both buffet and beer tap and therefore the beginning of the social part of yet another enjoyable evening at ISH.