Arts and sports have pride of place in SIM's $300m expansion

(Clockwise from above) A member of SIM's windsurfing club manoeuvring a sail at the SIM Atrium during an open house; SIM's new Wellness Centre, which students can visit at any time; and students rehearsing a dance at the new performance arts theatre.
(Clockwise from above) A member of SIM's windsurfing club manoeuvring a sail at the SIM Atrium during an open house; SIM's new Wellness Centre, which students can visit at any time; and students rehearsing a dance at the new performance arts theatre.ST PHOTOS: STEFFI KOH
(Clockwise from above) A member of SIM's windsurfing club manoeuvring a sail at the SIM Atrium during an open house; SIM's new Wellness Centre, which students can visit at any time; and students rehearsing a dance at the new performance arts theatre.
(Clockwise from above) A member of SIM's windsurfing club manoeuvring a sail at the SIM Atrium during an open house; SIM's new Wellness Centre, which students can visit at any time; and students rehearsing a dance at the new performance arts theatre.ST PHOTOS: STEFFI KOH
(Clockwise from above) A member of SIM's windsurfing club manoeuvring a sail at the SIM Atrium during an open house; SIM's new Wellness Centre, which students can visit at any time; and students rehearsing a dance at the new performance arts theatre.
(Clockwise from above) A member of SIM's windsurfing club manoeuvring a sail at the SIM Atrium during an open house; SIM's new Wellness Centre, which students can visit at any time; and students rehearsing a dance at the new performance arts theatre.ST PHOTOS: STEFFI KOH

Students get new sports and arts facilities with $300m campus expansion

Students enrolled in private schools are usually more focused on getting a degree than taking up sports or other co-curricular activities (CCAs).

But surprisingly, 40 per cent of the 19,000 full-time students at Singapore's biggest private school do so.

Now the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) is hoping to raise this participation rate even further, having completed the expansion of its Clementi Road campus which it shares with SIM University.

The $300 million expansion has doubled the campus size, with an additional 63,000 sq m and new sports and performance arts spaces. These include a multi-purpose sports hall, tennis courts, a dance studio and a performance arts theatre that can seat 460 people.

Mr Lee Kwok Cheong, who heads SIM Global Education which runs degree programmes with overseas university partners, revealed that besides a transcript of the academic results, the school is also looking into issuing students with a record of their achievements outside the classroom.

This will include his or her participation in sports, clubs and other activities such as student exchange programmes and internships.

SIM GE offers more than 70 sports and student activity clubs ranging from basketball and dragon boat racing to singing and photography. Its students take part in the Singapore University Games and Institute-Varsity-Polytechnic Games.

Mr Lee said employers are increasingly looking beyond grades at the out-of-classroom activities of students. "They are looking for leadership skills, resilience, ability to work with teams," he said.

"We will continue to give students a good academic grounding, but we hope that students will also participate in sports and other activities we provide. Besides the fun and games, students will have the opportunity to plan, organise and manage these activities, helping them grow as leaders and develop organisational and people skills," he added.

Mr Ronald Tan, SIM's executive director, said the school strongly believes in holistic education and does not hold back on building sports facilities or hiring staff to run student activities.

SIM GE has close to 60 staff who come under the student life and services unit.

"SIM may be privately run, but from its inception in 1964 it always had a social mission as well, in manpower development," said Mr Tan. "So we are not satisfied with just running degree programmes. We want to offer a vibrant campus environment with platforms for leadership and personal development."

Mr Daryl Seah, 26, chose to go to SIM because of its co-curricular activities. The final-year business management student plays in SIM's basketball team and is vice-president of the singing club.

"It makes university life so much more interesting," he said.

"For one thing, you get to meet people from all walks of life. As a leader you learn to organise events and manage people. Playing in competitions teaches you to play hard and be a team player. It also teaches you to bounce back from failures."

Ms Corrine Siew, 19, who is entering SIM this year, hopes to take up netball and dance.

"I thought I would not have as interesting a university life as my friends entering the public universities, so I was pleasantly surprised to see the spanking new sports hall and dance studios at SIM," she said. "It is great that SIM, despite being a private institution, believes in offering students a range of activities."

sandra@sph.com.sg