New SHS building soon at Silliman

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A new academic building for the Silliman University Senior High School Department, located beside the Dr. Romeo P. Ariniego Art Gallery, will be constructed any time within the first quarter of this year. A groundbreaking was held recently in the site.

The building, designed by the university’s Architecture Department faculty, is expected to be completed by August 2022 in time for school year 2022-2023. SU Vice- President for Development Jane Annette L. Belarmino said the university hopes to conduct face-to-face classes by then.

Dr. Betty Cernol McCann, Silliman president, said the purpose of the building is to give SHS students and faculty a sense of place and a sense of “home.”

The SHS Department accepted its first batch of Grade 11 students in June 2016. Since then, no new classrooms have been constructed for SHS as the university utilized available classrooms in various colleges and departments.

Because there was no one building for SHS, Belarmino said SHS faculty and students have been “scattered” all over campus as the university utilized extra classrooms in different academic buildings to hold SHS classes.

“As more and more SHS students enrolled and the transition to K-12 progressed, and we already have first year, second year, and third year college students, our SHS students were slowly crowded out of the academic buildings on campus,” Belarmino added.

The building will have 24 classrooms. Each room can accommodate 40 students.

Before the implementation of online distance learning for all academic programs in school year 2020-2021, SHS had almost 2,000 students every year. Belarmino said the university expects this number to grow when face-to-face classes are back as Silliman continues to strengthen its SHS programs.

Meanwhile, Dr. Gina Bonior, associate dean of the College of Education, said the lack of a designated building for SHS also made it difficult for teachers to go to their classes as they had to travel between buildings that were far from each other.

“The SHS building is not just a structure. It is a social space where our students will converge; where ideas could be co-constructed; where, several years from now, our graduates from the SHS would come for their reunion. This is going to be home. For faculty, this is about health; this is about their well-being,” said Bonior. – NWI