SINGAPORE - The iconic Maris Stella High School gate will be demolished but a new archway, slated to be completed by the end of the year, will be built using parts of the old gate with the original look retained.
The gate has to be removed from its current location in Mount Vernon Road as the road has to be widened to serve residents of an upcoming housing development in Bidadari estate, said the Housing Board in a statement on Saturday (May 15).
The new gate will be located in Bartley Walk.
In a Facebook post the same day, Minister of State for National Development Tan Kiat How said that HDB has been in talks with the school management on ways to preserve the gate since 2018.
The option of relocating the whole gate was discussed but engineers assessed that doing so would risk damaging the gate and pose a safety risk to students.
Mr Tan said: "HDB intends to incorporate as much of the old gate into the new, such as the iconic blue tiles and possibly the plaque that carries the school's name."
The decision comes amid a petition to save the original gate. The campaign on Change.org has garnered more than 5,000 signatures since it was started on Thursday.
The petition was launched the day after Maris Stella High School announced that the gate, built in 1997, will be demolished after May 31.
The school's alumni told The Straits Times that the gate's unique structure incorporates East and West design elements that are unlike those commonly found in other Catholic schools.
HDB on Saturday said part of the driveway into the school compound had to be acquired to improve traffic flow in Mount Vernon Road for residents of an upcoming Bidadari estate.
ST understands that a Build-To-Order project - Bartley Beacon - has been planned for a site next to Maris Stella High School.
Announced last year, the project will include 880 flats comprising three-room, four-room and five-room units.
In its statement, HDB acknowledged that the school's alumni and members of the public had asked if the gate can be preserved or replicated.
It said that Maris Stella's alumni association will develop a digital replica of the design of the existing gate and incorporate it into the new gate.
"We will continue to work with the school and the alumni association on the design and construction of the new gate within the school compound," said HDB.