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International School celebrates new lower school opening

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Parents at the only international school in the Midwest on Saturday said a new school building is well worth the wait.

When Monica Morrissey graduated from the International School of Indiana in 2004 as part of it’s first class, she attended elementary-age classes in a building near the Butler University campus. Her father went to school in that same building when it was an Indianapolis Public Schools’ property.

The family tradition will end in August when her children enter the Chen Family Lower School building for the first time.

“They have not been on a tour yet,” she said. “They know about the slide (in the front atrium) and they are so excited.”

The International School’s middle and high school buildings both are located on the school’s main campus on Michigan Road.

Head of School Elizabeth Head said the school’s founders had always intended for all ages to attend classes on the same campus. Fundraising for the new building wrapped up in March of 2020, just as the COVID-19 pandemic began.

“All of the construction happened during the pandemic, and so, you can imagine the challenges of running the school hybrid and remote, and then also building the building,” she said.

The International School serves students from age 3 to grade 12, with the Chen Family school hosting pre-K through fifth grade.

The school offers full language immersion in Spanish, French, or Mandarin Chinese. To that end, designers included touches such as bookcases modeled after Spanish architecture in the library for Spanish-language books. Morrissey said those details make the new building feel special.

“All of the thought that went into it and knowing how neat and cool every single little piece of it is, it just overwhelms me with emotion because it’s something that we’ve been working toward for so long,” she said.

Head said there are fewer than 10 such schools in the United States and the International School of Indiana is the only one of its kind in the Midwest. She said the school has rolling admissions so parents can apply at any time.