SINGAPORE - Students and staff of St Joseph's Institution (SJI) will be able to move back to an upgraded Malcolm Road campus by the end of the first quarter of 2017.
The redeveloped campus, which will cost an estimated $40 million, will feature four new buildings - including an indoor sports hall, a lecture theatre block and two senior school blocks - as well as refurbished ones.
The redevelopment comes as the school looks to accommodate more students. Currently, the school has a population of over 1,600 students, and this will increase to about 2,000 students when upgrades to the Malcolm Road campus is completed.
Since last year, SJI students have been attending classes at a temporary holding site in Bishan, so as to minimise disruption to its curriculum and activities.
In a ground-breaking ceremony on Monday afternoon, Mr Gerard Ee, chairman of the SJI Board of Governors, said: "This redevelopment is particularly timely as education in Singapore and the learning needs have changed tremendously over the years."
Mr Ee added that the school had to upgrade its existing buildings and facilities to ensure it is "designed for learning and interactions, now and for the future".
The new indoor sports hall will feature student council rooms, basketball courts and badminton courts, while the lecture theatre block will offer a 600-seat lecture theatre, meeting rooms and a new staff room which is connected to the existing staff room.
Two senior school blocks, to be built over existing buildings, will feature 32 classrooms with informal interaction spaces and are connected to each other by a link bridge.
Existing buildings will also be upgraded. The canteen, for instance, will be renovated to cater to a larger student population. Toilets will also be refurbished and existing slippery tiles around the school will be replaced.
Sheltered linkways linking to all buildings and the nearest bus stops will also be installed, and the current field and track will be modified.
The upgrading of the campus was initially delayed as a result of site challenges. Previously, SJI's assessment was that the construction would commence last year, and the school had moved out of its Malcolm Road campus by the end of 2013 to its current holding site at the former Institute of Technical Education (ITE) campus at Bishan Street 14.
Based on the initial schedule, it was due to return to Malcolm Road by the middle of next year, but now has to extend its stay in the Bishan temporary site till mid-2017.
The delay had partially caused the temporary campus of a new junior college (JC) - Singapore's 20th and will mainly take in Integrated Programme (IP) students from Catholic High, St Nicholas Girls' and Singapore Chinese Girls' schools - to change from the former ITE campus at Bishan to Mount Sinai Road, at the former premises of Raffles JC.
The permanent campus of the as-yet-unnamed JC, to be located at the junction of Sin Ming Avenue and Marymount Road, will only be ready by the end of 2019.
Raffles Girls' Primary is currently using the old RJC campus at Mount Sinai until December, while its Hillcrest Road campus undergoes upgrading.