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Ten years after its initial conception, a new eco-campus has just been opened at St. Légier in Vaud for the primary and infant section students of Haut-Lac International Bilingual School.  More than just a “school building”, the new campus is on four levels with a working surface of 7,500m2, and incorporates a host of environmentally-friendly features designed to encourage children to think about sustainable development from a very early age.

Costing approximately CHF 32 million, the new Praz Dagoud campus now provides state-of-the-art learning facilities for over 650 students, including specially equipped classrooms for art, music, science, and individual needs, as well as a technology laboratory and enormous 8m high triple gym with spectator seating, catering for every imaginable sport.  A light and airy dining room also doubles up as a large multi-function space, which can be used as a theatre or conference room with 300 seats, providing for large school gatherings and performances by the children.


“Not only will the children have their own biotope – which amongst other purposes will help in the conservation of frogs – but they will also have a Discovery Garden, ideal for growing fruit and vegetables, and promoting healthy eating. The infants already have access to an open-air quadrangle contained within the building walls, a wonderful initiative that ensures they are safe at all times, even when playing outside.” explained Managing Director, Grainne Dubler (Head of the Primary School).

She continued, “We are particularly proud of our rainwater recovery system and vast network of solar panels covering the roof, which conform to Minergie standards and generate enough electricity for our school to be potentially self-sufficient. What better example can we provide for our young students when they learn about renewable energy sources and the importance of sustainable development?”


As an independent day school catering for children aged 3 to 18 years, Haut-Lac has a strong family spirit and has clearly benefited from the ongoing support of its four Managing Directors: sisters Grainne Dubler and Anne-Marie Harwood, and their husbands Jean-Louis Dubler and Neil Harwood, who between them have run the school from the moment it opened its doors to 13 students in 1993.  Since Haut-Lac first received authorization to run the IB Middle Years Programme in 2002, the school has developed a continuous and coherent academic program to include both the IB Diploma Programme for older students, and a customized bilingual program for the Infant and Primary School.  The school is also accredited by the Council of International Schools.

By alternating the language of instruction for primary students between French and English on different days of the week, the native French-and English-speaking teachers ensure that children in the bilingual section spend an equal time learning in both. This means that by the time they reach secondary level, they are comfortable working in either language and can continue to benefit from a bilingual curriculum based on the IB MYP and Diploma Programmes.


At a special meeting in September to launch their new campus, Managing Director, Neil Harwood, told the audience,  “With the opening of our new campus, we will be able to welcome more families to our school, not just those working in the large multinational companies nearby, but also local Swiss families and expats working for smaller businesses in the region. With 350 families providing 650 students at the school, we now have the capacity to take on an additional 150 students across all age groups."

Christine Knight, Head of Administration, also highlighted how the school was keen to develop closer relationships with the surrounding community by making its facilities available to local societies, whilst its own students benefited from access to communal services such as the football pitch.


To help improve the flow of students both within the school and between campuses, as well as to and from their homes, a special mobility program has been devised including an extended bus service, rapid drop-off zones for parents, and a new path linking the Primary Praz Dagoud campus with the Secondary Roches Grises campus, located just 500m away.

In response to growing demand from its parents, Haut-Lac is also planning to open a crèche for children aged from 18 months to 3 years.  Still under discussion with the local authorities, it is hoped that the nursery will open its doors at the school’s third campus, Les Maronniers in nearby Vevey, from October 2014.

Haut-Lac Bilingual International School

Campus Marronniers
Rue du Nord, 3-5 CH - 1800 Vevey
021 555 50 00

Infant - Primary
Campus Praz Dagoud
Ch. de Pangires 26 CH - 1806 St-Légier-la Chiésaz
021 555 50 00

Campus Roches Grises
Route du Tirage, 14 CH - 1806 St-Légier-la Chiésaz
021 555 50 00