Abu Dhabi: As part of their plan to replace old schools, and build new ones, the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) is in the process of building 15 new public schools across Abu Dhabi and Al Ain in time for the new school year.

The Adec has initially planned to build 100 new public schools across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in the next ten years in response to new demographics in the emirate.

During a tour visit to the Abu Dhabi West School (ADWS ) — one of the public schools currently under construction and due to be ready in eight months from now — Dr Mugheer Al Khaili, Director-General of Adec, told Gulf News that each of the 15 schools will be able to accommodate 1,200 to 1,500 students by September 2011.

"Some of the 15 schools have been re-built to replace old schools, and others are completely new, the ADWS is an example of new sustainable infrastructure. Each of the schools will consist of cycles running from K1 to Grade 12," said Dr Al Khaili.

As part of the Abu Dhabi 2030 vision for sustainability as the foundation of any new development occurring in the emirate, the upcoming school projects will incorporate sustainability features that include: energy efficient air conditioning systems, water conservation devices, photovoltaic panels for solar energy, solar panels for water heating, intelligent lighting controls, and will feature eco trees and vertical gardens.

The ADWS project is among five public school projects delivered by a privately owned Irish company known as Sammon Group who are specialised in the delivery of education facilities.

Batt O'Keefe, Irish Minister of Enterprise, Trade & Innovation, Dr Al Khaili, Ciaran Madden, Ambassador of Ireland to the UAE and other Adec officials visited the ADWS site for the first time to discuss development progress with the Sammon founders.

"Adec's vision is to create schools on par with the highest paying schools, and that is exactly what we are working on. We have built schools in Dubai and Sharjah in a 1.5 million square feet land, and from that experience have been asked to build more schools in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain," explained Miceal Sammon, Founder and Chairman, Sammon Group.

According to Austin Duffy, Construction Director for the school project, the environmentally friendly campus will consist of plants that feed from recycled grey water. Electricity will shut off in empty classrooms as not to waste any energy, and students will be given a chance to learn more about the importance of energy conservation.