Just as our Alumni are dotted all over the world, so are their memories of ISB spread across multiple campuses. Our history is a fascinating one and much of our intangible milestones align to these brick and mortar buildings.
The current International School Bangkok (ISB) campus in Nichada Thani is one of the most modern, well-equipped and beautiful international school campuses in Thailand. This campus has been a nearly 70 year process in the making, as ISB is truly a tale of four campuses.
In October of 1950, a group of parents joined together to lay out plans for a school that would serve the growing expat community in Bangkok. The site of the new school, planned for approximately 70 students, was an old wooden building on the grounds of the U.S. Embassy off of Rajdamri Road. The name of the new school was the International Children’s Center – the first day of classes for the 50 or so students was May 14, 1951.
By the mid-50s the school had over 300 students and had clearly out-grown the wooden school house at the U.S. Embassy. In August of 1957, the International School Association (ISA) was formed. A 12-member Board of Directors was elected. Two of the first orders of business of the ISA were to change the name of the school to “International School Bangkok,” and to find a new location for the school. Additionally, 1957 marked the first ISB graduating class of 6 seniors.
The new location was a leased property between Sois 15 and 19 off of Sukhumvit Road. The school was designed to house upwards of 700 students. Thus it was on a rainy, humid day on September 1, 1960 that ISB officially began classes at its new location on Soi 15.
By 1965 the Viet Nam War had accelerated and many American government dependents were moved to Bangkok. This greatly increased the student population to well over 3500 students, well beyond the capacity of the campus on Soi 15. Thus in 1967 a second ISB campus in Bangsue on Viphawadee-Rangsit Road was opened. The site was used for grades 4 to 8, which today you would recognize as St. John’s International School located just south of Central Department Store on Ladprao Road. With such a large student body, a record number of teachers and administrators were employed to maintain the high quality educational program that ISB offered.
Enrollment at ISB fluctuated with the US military involvement in Viet Nam, but this ended in 1975, and with it the number of students greatly decreased. The Bangsue campus was closed and eventually sold, and by the beginning of the 1976 school year enrollment was around 1000 students. This number remained relatively constant throughout the remainder of the 70s and into the 1980s.
By the late 1980s, ISB once and for all had outgrown the Soi 15 campus, and built a new school in a northern suburb of Bangkok called Pakkret. The school board had a vision for a campus with the best learning opportunities and facilities in Asia, purpose-built to support students in all their endeavours. We moved into this, our current facility, in January of 1992. With the completion of the Cultural Center building, the recent expansion of the athletics facilities, the building of the Environment Wilderness Campus (EWC) and the continued improvement and modernization of the entire campus, ISB is definitely showing its commitment to excellence for now and for the foreseeable future.