While Yale College expands its residential college system along Prospect Street, Yale-NUS is constructing a new campus itself, to the tune of roughly $240 million dollars.
Yale-NUS new campus, which has been under construction since July 2012, will include three residential colleges, new dining halls, faculty apartments and 1,000 student rooms covering 60,000 square meters of real estate. Even though Yale is overseeing the design and construction process, NUS — funded by the Singaporean government — is paying for 100 percent of the project, Yale-NUS Governing Board member Roland Betts ’68 said. According to Yale-NUS administrators, the entire construction project is set to be completed by October 2015.
The construction of a new Yale-NUS campus is in spite of a construction slowdown in Singapore. Last month, Bloomberg reported that the construction sector’s share of the Singaporean economy dipped by 2.7 percent, the biggest drop since 2010.
“This is such an ambitious project and it’s going so well,” Betts said. “When the buildings are finished, they are going to be unbelievably dazzling.”
Pelli Clarke Pelli, the same firm that designed the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur — formerly the tallest buildings in the world — is spearheading the construction. The firm could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.
Though one residential college has been completed, the two others, in addition to administrative and educational facilities, are still in the throes of the construction process, Yale-NUS President Pericles Lewis said.
Currently, Yale-NUS students live in a NUS-owned residential tower used for purely temporary purposes. Betts said that Yale-NUS administrators wanted to wait to move to a permanent location until more classes had matriculated into the college.
The new campus, though still under construction, received the 2013 Green Mark Platinum Award from the Building and Construction Authority in Singapore and the 2014 Landscape Excellent Assessment Framework certification from the National Parks Board, which recognized the college’s efforts to include eco-friendly infrastructure. This infrastructure includes eco-ponds, sky gardens, energy-efficient sensors and a stormwater filtration system. In addition, the campus will feature occupancy sensors to reduce air-conditioning and maximize natural lighting.
Despite these accolades, Betts said that because the scope of the construction has been so large, there have been “a lot of challenges” that have caused the project to be slightly behind schedule. He noted that the weather in particular has complicated the project’s timeline.
“You have two monsoon seasons per year [in Singapore], and the monsoon seasons make it particularly difficult to do any outdoor work,” he said. “So, you slow down.”
Construction came to a complete halt for three weeks in August to control the spread of Dengue fever, which a few construction workers contracted.
Overall, students interviewed had positive expectations for the new campus.
Christopher Tee NUS ’17 said he was excited about the new expansion because it will enable students to pursue more opportunities at Yale-NUS.
“With an increasing number of students, student organizations, activities and classes offered in Yale-NUS, all of us have started to feel a space crunch because there are only so many classes that can go around at any one point in time,” Tee said.
He added that he is particularly excited for the new student meeting spaces as well as art and sports facilities.
Adrian Stymne NUS ’17 said he is looking forward to having more courtyards and outside space on campus and student organization spaces. He noted, however, that the expansion will cause the communal spirit of Yale-NUS to change.
“Right now all students are living in the same building, the dean’s offices are all just a few floors below and getting to class takes but an elevator ride,” Stymne said. “Being spread out means it will become more difficult to keep the feeling of togetherness, a feeling which has been crucial in building our community, especially for international students.”
Classes began at Yale-NUS in August 2013.