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‘Green’ building to rise soon on UP campus


Not only will the soon-to-rise University of the Philippines Integrated School (UPIS) building be spiffy and spanking new—it will also be one of the first “green” structures on the sprawling, tree-lined campus in Diliman, Quezon City.

The building’s design will also make use of an old, almost legendary dormitory sitting on a 1.5-hectare lot on the property, said architect Christopher “Buboy” Espina.

“It will be a ‘green’ building on Regidor and Shuster Streets that will be properly designed, using parts of the old Narra dormitory,” he said.

Espina, chief of the university’s Office of Design and Planning Initiatives, said construction work on the four-story building, which will house the UPIS high school department, is set to begin this year.

The high school department will be moved from its Katipunan Avenue campus to the main UP campus after Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) won the right to develop the 7.4-hectare Katipunan property.

In return, the ALI will construct the new building on the site of the old Narra dorm which was razed by a fire in 2008.

The UPIS serves as a laboratory school of the UP College of Education and has many prominent politicians and personalities from all fields on its roster of graduates.

Lighting and ventilation

Although the design is still being finalized by a team of architects and engineers, Espina said the building will have “greenie” features incorporated in its lighting and ventilation scheme, for example.

Espina added that they will use skylights and windows that would sufficiently ventilate its 18 classrooms.

Students who have outdoor activities won’t also be subjected to too much exposure to the afternoon sun, based on the building’s design.

Apart from the four story building, sections of Narra will be used to house the canteen and practical arts classes as part of the “adaptive reuse” scheme.

The new structure, which will cost P180 million to build, will also feature an open basketball court, open spaces and a gymnasium for physical education classes. It can house  600 students once the UPIS begins implementing its Kindergarten  to Grade 12 program.

Espina said construction is expected to take at least a year to complete, with students possibly moving into their new classrooms by the next school year.

And UPIS oldtimers, as well as Narra’s former residents, need not fret  as mementos of both the old high school building and the dormitory will be on display at the new building’s lobby that  will house a museum of sorts and also showcase graffiti contributions of Narra residents over the years.

Even stone fixtures at the UPIS Katipunan property may be moved to the new building for the benefit of  generations of UPIS students who attended classes, adored or hated their teachers,  and kept memories, happy or bittersweet, of  the old structure.

“It will be all up to the students, teachers, alumni, what they want to do with old statues like one named  ‘Lorna’ (a woman reading a book), because it’s part of their memories,” Espina said.

The architect said they were also  considering the possibility of moving the  decades-old murals at the Katipunan building.

One option, Espina said, would be to leave behind the statues and mementos of the UPIS building but to incorporate these in the “University-town” type complex to be developed by ALI.

“Maybe a marker could be placed. But nothing is still final. What is definite is that the mementos will be preserved,” Espina said, adding that doing so would preserve the history of two old but revered UP institutions.

The UP administration, meanwhile, has called on UPIS alumni to help raise funds to build a new building for Grades 3 to 6 pupils adjacent to the soon-to-rise high school building.

Lease agreement

Espina said the construction is expected to cause P47 million, apart from the P35 million set aside from the lease agreement with ALI.

“We are trying to look for funds for this project. UP president (Alfredo) Pascual is calling on UPIS alumni to pitch in for their school,” said UP vice president for development Elvira Zamora.

“I hope more alumni would heed our call. Feedback to the UPIS project has been favorable so far,” she added.

On Aug. 26, the UP High, Prep, Elementary and Integrated School Foundation Inc. will hold  “Hello Narra, Goodbye Katipunan” at 7 p.m. at the UPIS Multipurpose Hall on Katipunan Avenue to raise funds for the new UPIS  building as well as the proposed elementary school building.

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