CDNIS started its home at the Causeway Bay Campus in July 1991 as a tenant of the Shing Kwong Church of Christ in China (“the Church”).
The building was previously occupied by Chinese International School and was the only suitable place available to CDNIS at the time. After tough negotiation, a five-year lease was entered into between CDNIS and the Church and in order to relieve the initial financial burden to CDNIS, the rent demanded by the Church was averaged out in 5 years and increased by the sum of HK,000.00 per year.
The building had 14 rooms of which 11 were used for regular classes; one was used as office, one for music and Chinese Studies and the remaining one for instructional purposes. There were several storage areas behind the stage in the Hall on the ground level, a caretaker’s room, and a small lunchroom for teachers on the 3rd floor.
In this building, the corridors were open to the elements and that warm clothing and rainwear were as common as pencils and paper.
Through the connection of Richard Wong, maintenance works were done at substantially reduced prices, which included repainting the premises and rewiring of the electrical system.
The right to use two additional teaching spaces on the ground level of the adjacent church were acquired in the summer of 1993 to accommodate growth.
As CDNIS continued to grow, its Premises Committee, under the leadership of John Crawford, began in 1993 the exercise to seek future bridging premises until completion of its permanent campus. Two primary target sites, namely, the old British Military Hospital on Borrett Road and the one at 26 Kennedy Road were identified and CDNIS was able to secure both sites as bridging campuses.
This was previously occupied by South Island School and upon its vacating the campus, CDNIS took possession of it on August 10, 1994 for occupation by Grades 4 to 8 classes.
The campus was painted and a small kitchen was constructed to serve lunch on site for the students. Neil Johnston based his office in this campus and Alan Dick took over Neil’s old office in the Causeway Bay Campus.
The Borrett Road Campus provided a computer laboratory, library, assembly hall, visual arts room, 8 classrooms plus offices and areas for small group instruction. There was an outdoor playground at the back of the building that CDNIS equipped for basketball and other games. The Bowen Trail was used by students from time to time for cross-country training. Students from the Causeway Bay Campus were transported to the Borrett Road Campus for weekly computer classes and the librarian, Chinese and French language teachers moved between the two campuses, as needed.
The Borrett Road building was large and was shared by about 9 other community groups, including two pre-school programs, a theatre company, the Hong Kong Scouts, an unwed mother’s support group, etc.
This building had previously been used by Chinese International School and then by Hong Kong International School (“HKIS”) before CDNIS took possession in July 1995.
No renovations were needed except the acquisition of several existing air-conditioners and shelving units from HKIS.
After its occupation, CDNIS used this campus to house the primary division, its Causeway Bay Campus for its junior division and the Borrett Road Campus for its immediate and senior division.
Alan Dick, as Vice-Principal responsible for the primary and junior divisions, had two offices at the Causeway Bay Campus and Borrett Road Campus with Neil continued as the peripatetic Principal based in this campus but moved around and oversaw all three campuses.
In February 1998, the government demanded the return of the two bridging premises to be vacated no later than October 1998 for other school tenants.
By organizing an “all parties” meeting at the offices of the Secretary of Education and Manpower, CDNIS was able to persuade the government to extend the deadline to until December 31, 1998, the time CDNIS expected to move to the new campus.
On the other hand, the Church also made demand as penalty on CDNIS for terminating the rental agreement at the Causeway Bay Campus before the end of the school year. The matter was finally resolved by the introduction of a replacement tenant to take up, and renovate, the building.
On December 31, 1998, the big move to the new campus was carried out and all three interim campuses were handed back and all supplies, furniture and equipment were moved to the new campus.