The other day when I was in Bishan, I looked around the MRT station and wondered where my alma mater could possibly relocate to.
Thus I was amazed to read this in Straits Times on Friday:
Raffles Girls’ School may be relocating
School may move closer to RI, due to Integrated Programme
By Liew Hanqing
FOLLOWING in the footsteps of school families coming together, Raffles Girls’ School (Secondary) (RGS) looks set to become a neighbour of its brother school, Raffles Institution (RI).
While the school would neither confirm nor deny the move, it admitted that its current site at Anderson Road was no longer adequate for its growing co-curricular activity (CCA) needs.
Responding to queries from The Straits Times, principal Julie Hoo said: ‘Our current campus at Anderson Road is good; there are, however, many new programmes and initiatives with the Raffles Programme in RGS. These are creating a need for more – and different – facilities.’
The school’s population has hovered at the 1,800 mark the past few years.
The Raffles Programme is the six-year Integrated Programme which sees girls from RGS and boys from RI progress directly to the A levels at RI without having to take the O levels.
Other school families that have come together include the Hwa Chong family, comprising Nanyang Girls’ High School and Hwa Chong Institution in Bukit Timah Road, and the Saint Andrew’s family, comprising the junior and secondary schools and the junior college at Potong Pasir.
Sources said it is likely RGS will occupy the former Braddell-Westlake Secondary School site along Braddell Road, across the road from RI. A Ministry of Education (MOE) spokesman would say only that development plans for RGS were ‘under review’.
Mrs Hoo said the school had approached MOE last year to help provide additional venues for CCA groups to hold practice sessions.
‘MOE kindly agreed and allowed for a few of our CCA groups to train at the Braddell-Westlake site, which is conveniently located not too far from RGS,’ Mrs Hoo said.
A spokesman for the Urban Redevelopment Authority said the site area of RGS’ Anderson Road campus is about 4.5ha, while the Braddell-Westlake site is about 7.4ha, or slightly more than 1.5 times RGS’ present size.
Alumnae responses to a potential relocation were mixed.
Miss Rachelle Goh, 25, a marketing executive, said: ‘I feel that the soul is lost when you up and move from a place with so much history. It won’t be the same.’
But not all alumnae are against the move.
Ms Chua Soh Kheng, 59, deputy president of SGP International Academy, said: ‘A bigger campus with more modern facilities and resources would provide a better learning environment for the students, and support the school’s needs.’
And it was accompanied by a second article:
RGS site could be worth billions if sold: Analysts
ITS students may be sad to see it go, but property developers will be eagerly eyeing the plum plot of land that Raffles Girls’ School (RGS) will leave behind if it relocates.
The school now sits on a prized centrally located site that is likely to be worth billions if it is converted into a residential plot, property consultants said yesterday.
‘This is a very, very prime site,’ said Mr Ho Eng Joo, executive director of investment sales at real estate firm Colliers International.
‘It’s been quite a long time since this kind of prime site has been released in the market, and at this size. There are no comparables, it’s priceless,’ he added.
RGS occupies one of the most coveted plots of land in Singapore, bounded on all four sides by some of the country’s priciest residential areas: Ardmore Park, Draycott Park, Stevens Road and Anderson Road.
Given the location, the size of the plot is massive: 4.5ha, or 10 times the size of nearby The Ardmore and almost five times that of Anderson 18. It is about the size of the sprawling Ardmore Park.
Mr Ho believes the site could go for $1.6 billion to $2 billion, based on a plot ratio of 2.8, which is similar to that of nearby developments. This would work out to about $1,400 per sq ft (psf) of the total floor area, which could amount to 1.35 million sq ft.
Ms Chua Chor Hoon, head of South-east Asia research at DTZ Debenham Tie Leung, has an even higher estimate at well over $2 billion. This is based on a possible selling price of $2,800 to $3,200 psf of the final units in the development.
If the Government decides to sell the land as 99-year leasehold residential plots, it will probably parcel it out into more easily digestible pieces, consultants said.
Nearby land plots have sold for record prices. In 2007, SC Global bought The Ardmore, with a freehold land area of about 0.4ha, for $262 million, or a record $2,337 psf of gross floor area.
Back in 1999, Wing Tai paid $1,100 psf for its Draycott 8 site, at the time a record price for 99-year leasehold land.
‘It’s been quite a long time since this kind of prime site has been released in the market, and at this size. There are no comparables, it’s priceless.’
Mr Ho Eng Joo, executive director of investment sales at real estate firm Colliers International, on the land on which RGS sits
The Straits Times, 28 May 2010, page B6
Couldn’t help but be annoyed by the analysts quoted in the second article. They’re just like vultures already eyeing the place, and sound like they simply can’t wait for RG to pack up and get out. For that reason alone, I hope RG will stay for as long as possible and let them gnash their teeth in sheer frustration! Haha.
Yes, we’ve always known that RG would one day make yet another move somewhere. And yes, KN, I know that the physical school doesn’t matter. But somehow when something one thought wouldn’t happen till years later is fast becoming reality, one can’t help but feel a little sadness……