THE old Raffles Junior College campus at Mount Sinai off Holland Road will be refurbished for Integrated Programme (IP) students from Catholic High School, St Nicholas Girls' School and Singapore Chinese Girls' School, who will use it as an interim junior college, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said yesterday.
The campus will be equipped with a running track, school field, music studios and study spaces. Science laboratories will be replaced and there will be wireless connectivity.
This announcement comes after news of delays in construction of the permanent campus, as well as changes to the location of the interim one.
The ministry had said on April 13 that the new JC at the junction of Sin Ming Avenue and Marymount Road will be completed only by the end of 2019, more than a year later than intended.
It will take in mainly IP students from the three secondary schools, with about 100 places set aside for O-level holders from other secondary schools. IP students enter JC straight without sitting the O levels.
An interim college, which will start in 2017, was initially supposed to be at a holding site in Bishan Street 14.
But St Joseph's Institution (SJI), which is currently taking up the Bishan spot, cannot move out in time because of upgrading delays to its original Malcolm Road campus.
The changes had upset some IP students and their parents, who felt the Mount Sinai site was too inconvenient.
MOE yesterday explained the delay in a three-page letter signed off by Mr Wong Kang Jet, director of the finance and development division, and Ms Lim Huay Chih, director of the school planning and placement division.
The Land Transport Authority had new planning requirements in late 2014 for a transport project around the area, it said, and MOE needed more time to incorporate LTA's plan into the new JC's design and construction.
"More extensive pre-construction works" were also required, as the JC is the first high-rise one here.
The ministry had known since early this year that the Bishan space would not be available for the new JC because of delays on SJI's end.
It said that the former Raffles Junior College is the most suitable holding-site alternative after the Bishan location fell through, as it has the capacity to accommodate a full cohort of JC students.
An artist's impression will be available by end-September.
The ministry is also discussing alternative transport arrangements for affected students with the principals of the new JC and the three secondary schools.
But parents, like real estate agent Low Sang Kay, 47, whose Secondary 2 daughter is in St Nicholas Girls' School, are not happy.
"We didn't do anything wrong to end up in this situation, yet we are inconvenienced," he said, adding that he hopes MOE can have a dialogue with parents so that they can voice their concerns.
Others, like civil servant K.N. Tan, 46, whose 15-year-old daughter is in Singapore Chinese Girls' School, said she is not too bothered with the changes, "as the IP experience and curriculum are most important".
The Ang Mo Kio resident added: "Of course, the change in holding site is more inconvenient, but that is secondary."
This article was first published on May 1, 2015.
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