The American College of Sofia is a co-educational, private secondary school, with an emphasis on a rigorous, English-language education and providing a college-preparatory curriculum for both Bulgarian students and those of other nationalities. The College, one of the oldest American educational institutions outside the United States, traces its roots to a boys’ school founded in 1860 by American missionaries, who operated the school until 1926. The schools were then turned over to Sofia American Schools, Inc., which continues to operate the College today. They hired Dr. Floyd H. Black, who oversaw construction of a new campus to the southeast of the capital city of Sofia in the late 1920s. Beginning with World War II, the school was closed for a period of 50 years, and the campus was used by the Bulgarian government.
November 1989 saw the fall of Communism in Bulgaria, and a renewed hope that the College would reopen. Under the direction of Dr. Roger Whitaker, the school reopened in September 1992 with an 8th grade class of 50 boys and 50 girls. Since then, the College has continued to grow and now uses much of the original campus, which is leased to them by the Bulgarian government. In November 2011, ACS retained our team to develop the first master planning document for the school.
Strategic objectives of the Plan included maximizing the use of the existing buildings on-campus through careful study and analysis while strategically placing new construction in areas that will not affect the surrounding natural environment. A strategy to take ownership of the campus from the Bulgarian government is being developed. Deferred maintenance issues throughout the campus are being itemized, focusing on cost-effective improvements to beautify the campus.
The campus’s academic spaces need to be modernized with right-sized learning spaces. Athletic facilities must be upgraded and consolidated with the necessary support spaces provided. A student center needs to be established for the campus, with an emphasis on student socialization. Spaces to consider included the cafeteria, library learning commons, coffee bar, student clubs and activities spaces, and lounge space.