New school campus for 1,150 secondary school students

23 November 2023
Gatz launches project to convert office building in Ixelles

The Flemish Community Commission (VGC) will convert the old Beobank building between the VUB campus and Etterbeek station into a multifunctional educational campus. Project developer Befimmo is responsible for the conversion into two secondary schools and the infrastructure for community activities.

Minister Sven Gatz, responsible for education and school construction, announced the plans at a press conference in the vacant office buildings on the Pleinlaan 1 site in Ixelles.

Minister Sven Gatz: "With this major renovation project, we are filling three needs with one deed: firstly, we are realising a major expansion of 1,150 places for Dutch secondary education through two established school administrations offering general, technical and vocational education. Secondly, we are making many sports clubs happy with a balanced sports infrastructure, and, thirdly, we are transforming a vacant office complex into an educational campus in a prime location."

The project realised by Befimmo, which the Flemish Community Commission commissioned under a PPP formula, is a renovation project of the former Beobank headquarters. The current structure and H-shape of the building will be gently and flexibly transformed into a school building in which two secondary schools, including a theatre hall, sports infrastructure and communal multifunctional rooms, will each be given their own integration into the existing structure, subject to a number of structural interventions and adjustments.

Jean-Philip Vroninks, CEO of Befimmo, says: "This project is more than just a construction project. It is tangible proof of our commitment to sustainability and the promotion of Dutch-speaking education in Brussels," says Jean-Philip. "We strongly favour circular renovation and want to make the most of the existing building structure to transform it into a versatile educational campus. I am convinced that the collaboration between Befimmo and the Flemish Community Commission will make an important contribution to the local community and positively impact future generations."

On 11,400 m², dedicated to education, the Royal Atheneum Etterbeek of GO! Community Education will set up a general secondary school offer for 750 students. The Imelda Institute of the non-profit organisation KATOBA will develop a technical and vocational secondary school offer for 400 students. In addition, there is enough space to accommodate more than 2,000 m² of sports infrastructure and a 375 m² theatre hall. The sports halls and theatre will be used during school hours by the pupils of the schools on this campus and the schools in the neighbourhood.

Jurgen Wayenberg, General Director GO! Scholengroep Brussel:We are very pleased to expand the general secondary education programme of GO! Atheneum Etterbeek at this unique location. The proximity to our educational partner VUB will allow students to experience the university educational programme and campus life of VUB in a very accessible way."

Piet Ketele, Managing Director of the founding committee, Heverlee comments:With the expansion of this new school as a location of the Imelda Institute, we want to respond to the high demand in Brussels for vocational and technical secondary education. We want to show young people that it is worth investing in them so that they can find a good job or continue their studies with confidence."
Outside school hours, the sports infrastructure will be open to sports clubs. The VGC is thus continuing a successful practise of utilising sports and exercise facilities after school. In addition, multifunctional rooms with a total area of 590 m² will also be set up. These will be used for the Maalbeek community centre. With the theatre facilities, we want to boost the school programme in this region.

Ans Persoons, Brussels State Secretary and VGC member for Culture, Youth, Sport and Community Centres, is also enthusiastic about the project: "With the VGC, we are committed to the shared use of spaces in order to make the most efficient use of the scarce space in the city. The new campus on the Pleinlaan is a good example of this. In addition to the schools, the Maalbeek community centre will also find a new home there. The theatre hall, for example, is ideal for school performances. At the same time, GC De Maalbeek will retain its socio-cultural anchorage in the centre of Etterbeek. By opening up the sports halls to the neighbourhood, we are also responding to the growth and popularity of our sports clubs."
The building's unique location has several advantages, including more than 7,000 square metres of outdoor playing space for the schools, which are located on all sides of the building. The nearby bus, tram, and train stops make the location accessible for pupils, VUB students, theatre and concert-goers and sports enthusiasts from all over Brussels and beyond. Finally, 125 car parking spaces will be created for teachers and visitors, which should improve mobility in the area.

Minister Sven Gatz: With this 60 million euro construction project, creating a large educational campus in a prime location in Ixelles, the VGC is again demonstrating its commitment to Dutch-speaking education in Brussels. With this, we are leaving our mark and bringing new vitality to this part of Brussels."


Dessin - VGC x Befimmo