Despite facing substantial challenges, Yale-NUS’s new campus is nearing its final stages of construction as the school prepares for relocation to begin in the coming weeks.
The campus, which has been under construction since July 2012, will open for the first relocations in early May. The rest of the move will be completed in June. The space will span 60,000 square meters of real estate and house new and expanded facilities for the college, including three residential colleges, new dining halls, faculty apartments and 1,000 student rooms. Yale-NUS Governing Board member Roland Betts ’68 said in November that Yale has overseen the design and construction process. However, Betts said that the National University of Singapore — which is funded by the Singaporean government — will bear the entire financial burden for the project.
Yale-NUS President Pericles Lewis said that over the last few months, construction has been progressing well and should finish on target.
“No project is without its challenges and we have been working very closely with our Design and Construction team to keep things on track,” Lewis said. “Through their hard work we are pleased to share that we expect to complete our move into the new campus over the summer.”
Although the new campus is still under construction, it has already received its share of accolades — particularly for its commitment to environmentally friendly initiatives. These include eco ponds, rooftop gardens, energy-efficient sensors and a stormwater filtration system. The campus will also have occupancy sensors to reduce the use of air conditioning and artificial lighting. The project received the 2013 Green Mark Platinum Award from the Building and Construction Authority in Singapore and the 2014 Landscape Excellence Assessment Framework certification from the National Parks Board.
Prior to this fall, Lewis said, there were some setbacks to construction, namely due to the monsoons — which take place in Singapore from December to early March and from May to September. Further, in August 2014, progress on the new campus was halted by a stop-work order when dengue mosquitoes were found breeding at the construction site. These complications caused the timeline for construction to be delayed by several months.
Betts said the original plan was to finish most of the campus by January 2015. But although residential rooms were ready in January, classrooms, common areas and campus quadrangles were not yet completed.
Walter Yeo YNUS ’17 said he does not mind that construction is taking longer than expected, if the end result is a higher-quality campus.
“I understand that these things take time and the more time you give the builders, the higher the chances that they get things right. I would be very happy with the construction company instead taking their time, well within reason to build something that would last,” he said.
However, Yeo also said his opinion is in the minority, and that a lot of students are frustrated with the delays in construction.
As they are waiting for construction to be completed, Yale-NUS students live in a NUS-owned residential tower.