Former school buildings among 36 state properties to be converted to temporary housing for migrant workers

Former school buildings among 36 state properties to be converted to temporary housing for migrant workers

bedok north sec
The former site of Bedok North Secondary School. (Photo: Google Street View) 

SINGAPORE: Thirty-six unused state properties will be converted to temporary accommodation for migrant workers by the end of this year, announced the Ministry of National Development (MND) and the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in a joint media release on Monday (Jun 1).  

These sites, which include former schools and vacant factories, will house about 25,000 migrant workers in total, said the ministries. 

This is a short- to medium-term arrangement, while Singapore embarks on a "major" programme to build new migrant worker dormitories over the next few years.

“Our aim is to reduce the density of the dormitories but also importantly, to design new dormitories in a way that will be more resilient to public health risks, particularly the risk of pandemics, learning from the COVID-19 experience,” said Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong at a press conference by the COVID-19 multi-ministry task force on Monday. 

Authorities have so far been housing some migrant workers who have recovered from COVID-19 in places like military camps and vacant HDB flats. 

"But these are temporary solutions because eventually these sites will have to be returned to their original users, and therefore we need more sustainable solutions for new dormitory solutions," noted Mr Wong.

READ: COVID-19: Singapore to build new dormitories with improved living standards for migrant workers

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The unused state properties that will be used for temporary accommodation include the former Tampines Junior College, former Serangoon Junior College, former Temasek Primary School and former New Town Secondary School.

The Ministry of Education (MOE) confirmed in May that the former Hong Kah Secondary School and former Bedok North Secondary School are among “a number” of MOE sites that will be used as temporary facilities to house migrant workers “who are well”. 

To manage the sites, MOE had set up a Dormitory Task Force that comprises officers from the ministry and Outward Bound Singapore.

READ: Masks to be worn as default, face shields allowed only for certain settings and groups like children aged 12 and below

As some of these sites are near residential areas, Mr Wong urged Singaporeans to "do our part" and reject the not-in-my-backyard mindset.

“We really need to appreciate the contributions of all that our migrant workers have been doing and will continue to do and build in Singapore, and welcome them as part of our community," he said. "And this is an important part of how we can also learn from this whole experience and become a more inclusive society.”

Apart from the unused state properties, new "quick build dormitories" will be constructed by the end of this year to house an additional 25,000 workers in the short- to medium-term.

The state properties which will be fitted out as temporary accommodation are listed below:

Former school sites

  • 20 Jalan Damai, the former Bedok North Secondary School
  • 21 Champions Way, the former Innova Junior College
  • 8 Chai Chee Lane, the former East Coast Primary School
  • 501 Bedok South Ave 3, the former Temasek Primary/Secondary School
  • 3 Geylang Bahru Lane, the former Victoria School
  • 121 Queensway, former New Town Secondary School
  • 201 Ulu Pandan Road, the former Nexus International School 
  • 300 Jalan Jurong Kechil, the former Bukit Batok Primary School
  • 25 Jalan Tembusu, the former Chatsworth International School
  • 2 Tampines Ave 9, the former Tampines Junior College
  • 15 Pasir Ris St 21, the former Greenview Secondary School
  • 931 Jurong West St 42, the former Hong Kah Secondary School
  • 1033 Upper Serangoon Road, the former Serangoon Junior College
  • 29 Woodlands Centre Road, the former Fuchun Primary School
  • 1 and 3 Mei Chin Road, the former Mei Chin Primary and Secondary School
  • 15 Tampines St 11, the former Qiaonan Primary School 
  • 60 Dunearn Road, the former Swiss Cottage School

Vacant factories

  • 26A Sungei Kadut St 4
  • 11C, 11D, 15A, 15B Tuas Road 
  • 25 Kranji Loop 
  • 120, 128, 130, 134, 136, 138 Genting Lane 
  • 6 Neythal Road
  • 105, 164 Gul Circle 
  • 128 Tuas South Ave 3
  • 28 Ayer Rajah Crescent 
  • 36 Sungei Kadut St 1 

Other vacant state properties​​​​​​​

  • 63-66 Yung Kuang Road, the "Diamond blocks" in Taman Jurong
  • 1-22 Redhill Close, vacant HDB blocks in Bukit Merah
  • 429A Bedok North Road, vacant HDB block
  • 36 Dunearn Road, former Chancery Court site
  • 8 Lower Delta Road, Tiong Bahru Examination Centre
  • 226 Outram Road, Singapore General Hospital
  • 2 Perahu Road
  • 191 Ang Mo Kio Ave 8, student hostel at the former Anderson Junior College
  • 90, 92, 94 Kismis Avenue, former Ngee Ann Polytechnic staff apartments 

Tentages at NSRCC Kranji will also be used to house the migrant workers. 

Watch the full press conference:

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Source: CNA/hw(gs)

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