Le Rosey at previous Les Arts Gstaad site?

Tue, 30. Mar. 2021

The Institut Le Rosey is considering constructing a school building, the Campus Village, at the former tank farm behind the railway station. This is being done in close consultation with the municipality. For 15 years, Le Rosey has been trying to renew and enlarge the winter campus in Gstaad. Now a feasible solution seems to be in sight.

Le Rosey instead of Les Arts
Father Philippe Gudin and son Christophe Gudin, Le Rosey's owners, hope to build a school building, a so-called Campus Village, at the former tank farm, the same place where the cultural and congress centre Les Arts Gstaad had been planned. "The site near the railway station is ideal. It is central and easily accessible from all our sites," Christophe Gudin emphasises.

The new building should provide enough space for 450 to 550 pupils. The residential buildings and the canteen will remain at the existing locations: the girls' campus in Schönried, the boys' campus in Gstaad (Ried and lodgings near the Sportzentrum), and the canteen and the administration will remain on the Ried.

Municipality owns land
The land at the former tank farm belongs to the municipality of Saanen. The municipality is examining whether it should make the site accessible via a tunnel and build a bus station and a parking garage there. The municipality could give le Rosey the land in the form of a building lease. However, for the new Campus Village, no direct access from the main road would be necessary. "The school building project can be realised with or without a tunnel," says Philippe Gudin. "The students who live in Schönried will commute by public transport, and the students from Ried will walk to the Campus Village." Lunch will be served in the Ried dining hall, which is easily doable with a walking distance of a few minutes.

Architect established in Gstaad
The architect of Le Rosey projects in Saanenland is Jean Brügger. His uncle – also an architect – created the Gstaad indoor swimming pool, which still serves as a showpiece in the industry today. The new Campus Village's conceptual design is being carried out in close cooperation with the local business Jaggi Architektur und Innenarchitektur. There are no plans for the new school building yet. "It would be much too early for that at the moment. Negotiations with the municipality and informing the neighbours and the population are important first," says Philippe Gudin.

Existing chalets would be converted
It has long been known that the existing premises are bursting at the seams. The classrooms are too small so that some of the students have to sit on radiators during lessons. In the Campus Village, the classrooms could be built to meet the needs. The Ried classrooms would be converted into bedrooms, and the dining hall would be expanded. Chaletbau B. Hauswirth is doing this planning work. The conversion and new building would consider the fact that the school would like to grow further in the next few years. Christophe Gudin: "We expect a moderate increase of about 100 pupils within the next 15 years. One day we will probably teach about 550 pupils."

The heart beats for Gstaad
For the Gudin family, the question of whether the winter campus should remain in Gstaad or whether the school should accept a building offer from another winter resort comes up at regular intervals. "The school's expansion in Gstaad is admittedly a somewhat lengthy affair. However, we really want to stay here. Our heart beats for Gstaad, and we feel that the population is behind us," Philippe Gudin reflects.

Joint working group "Le Rosey”
The municipal council is aware that Le Rosey's buildings offer too little space and that the standard of some of the buildings no longer meets today's requirements. Therefore, a working group was set up in April 2020. Elisabeth Wampfler, Patricia Matti, Arthur Stierli, Emanuel Raaflaub, Jean Brügger, Marcel Bach, Philippe Gudin, Toni von Grünigen and Walter Matti-Zbären are currently members of the working group. Its main tasks are to network and mediate between the school's responsible persons and the municipality, the canton and the federal government.

The working group also helps in the search for suitable building land. "Several plots of land have already been considered for this purpose, but for various reasons they could not be pursued further," explains Patricia Matti, a municipal councillor. "Now that the Les Arts Foundation will not be pursuing the cultural project, there may be a new opportunity at the tank farm." She points out that it is the very beginning of the complex planning and negotiation process.

Complex projects
It is not only Le Rosey's needs that play a role in this process. "Three new buildings are planned in Untergstaad. We are therefore checking whether the section of road from the Migros roundabout to Ludihuus should be redesigned and calmed of traffic," explains Walter Matti-Zbären, head of spatial planning. The buildings in question are the Bellevue residence, the new Le Mansard building (former Hotel Christiania) and the Mille Fleurs development to the right of the Coop.

A tunnel to the former tank farm and a bus station with parking on the site could contribute to traffic calming in the Untergstaad section. Depending on the progress of the project, direct residents will be contacted, says Matti-Zbären.

Asked about Le Rosey, Patricia Matti says: "We are aware of the urgency of Le Rosey, the working group is working at full speed, but the planning process simply takes time."

Based on AvS/Blanca Burri

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