Former RJC campus in Mount Sinai to be demolished for new developments

Published: May 20, 2024 by 
PropertyGiant Singapore
Situated at 53 Mount Sinai Road, this plot of land housed RJC students from 1984 till 2004, when the school moved to its Bishan campus. ST Photo: GIN TAY
Situated at 53 Mount Sinai Road, this plot of land housed RJC students from 1984 till 2004, when the school moved to its Bishan campus. ST Photo: GIN TAY

The old Raffles Junior College (RJC) campus in Mount Sinai will soon be demolished to make way for new residential developments, amenities and other facilities.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, the Housing Board said the current plans being studied for the area include new public housing options, childcare and retail facilities, and a school, subject to review.

Residents can also enjoy more direct and convenient access to green spaces such as the Rail Corridor through new pedestrian links, it added.

Situated at 53 Mount Sinai Road, the plot of land housed RJC students from 1984 to 2004, when the school moved to its Bishan campus next to Raffles Institution.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority’s online map shows that HDB was given written permission on Jan 11 for the space to be demolished, and according to the authority’s masterplan, the area is zoned for residential developments.

HDB had submitted an application for the demolition on Dec 12, 2023, of six three-storey blocks, a one-storey building, and another one-storey building with a basement at 53 Mount Sinai Road.

Demolition works at the site will be carried out from the second quarter of 2024, till the third quarter of 2025, said HDB.

Holland-Bukit Timah GRC MP Christopher de Souza said in a Facebook post on May 17 that he will work with agencies to minimise inconvenience to residents during the demolition process. He added that more details will be released in the future.

From 2017 to 2019, the Mount Sinai site was used as Eunoia Junior College’s interim campus while construction of its permanent home in Sin Ming Avenue was ongoing.

In response to queries from ST, the Ministry of Education said that the old RJC campus had been vacated in January and will be returned to the state for other uses.

RJC alumni bid farewell to the campus

Alumni that ST spoke to shared their fondest memories of the old campus, from the canteen and training for extracurricular activities to meeting their spouses and making lifelong friends.

RJC alumnus Ng Choon Peng, 54, recalled his years at the Mount Sinai campus where he studied from 1987 to 1988, served as student council president, and played winger on the A Division champion rugby team in 1988.

The biotech entrepreneur said he cherishes the hours spent in the stadium. “There was a great emphasis to strive for excellence, not just academically but also in sports,” he said.

Orientation week is another cherished memory, said Mr Ng, as he remembers singing and cheering over a camp fire that fostered a sense of camaraderie.

The school canteen was also a place that Mr Ng remembers fondly, describing it as a spot where everyone gathered and lifelong friendships were forged.

“It is strange that we spent only two years in JC, but the friendships from our teenage years were the richest at this phase of our lives,” he said, adding that his closest friends are still those he made during JC.

RJC’s winning A Division rugby team of 1988 on the front porch of the Mount Sinai campus. Photo: Courtesy of Ng Choon Peng

Alumna Gillian Yee, who studied at RJC from 1995 to 1996, said her favourite place to hang out in school was the council room, where she also met her husband and other lifelong friends.

A nostalgic moment for the 46-year-old dentist was when her daughter studied at the Mount Sinai campus during her Primary 1 and 2 years in 2014 and 2015 when it was the Raffles Girls’ Primary School holding site.

“(My husband and I) took our kids around the campus and told them our dating stories,” said Dr Yee, who is married with triplets.

When asked how she felt about the demolition of the campus, Dr Yee said: “I guess all good things have to come to an end.

“I’m glad to have had a chance to be a part of its history, and thankful it gave us a chance to create a future together and the friendships forged that carry on to this day.”

The old Raffles Junior College campus will be demolished to make way for new residential developments, amenities and other facilities. ST Photo: Gin Tay

A farewell at the Mount Sinai site has been organised on May 26 for RJC alumni to return to say goodbye to the school.

Old Rafflesians’ Association president Jeffrey Chua said the farewell is a chance for alumni to gather and reminisce about their school days.

He added that the alumni’s affiliation to the place remains strong, although the move from the Mount Sinai campus to the Bishan one took place 20 years ago.

An old picture of RJC’s XVth student council, which alumna Gillian Yee was a part of and where she met her husband. Photo: Raffles Junior College

“But what’s most heartening is that the bond they feel for one another and their alma mater has withstood the passage of time.”

Some alumni said the land redevelopment did not come as a surprise, but they hope there will be some way to preserve the history and stories of buildings that hold many memories.

Mr Ng said: “We trust that the authorities will choose the appropriate sites that we preserve, and strike the balance between which sites we redevelop and which sites we preserve.”

Author Sharon Wee, 53, who graduated from RJC in 1988, said some of her best memories include folding heart-shaped bookmarks with classmates during Valentine’s Day beneath the track and field spectator stand, and going for supper with friends at Ghim Moh Food Centre after studying late in school.

“There is a sense of belonging and tradition when generations of students, often within the same family, have walked the same hallways and share common memories grounded in the physical space,” she said.

Ms Tania Chin, 39, who was in RJC from 2002 to 2003, said she enjoys talking about her shared memories of the campus with her husband, who is also an RJC alumnus.

“It is always sad to see buildings get demolished in Singapore because buildings hold many memories,” the criminal defence lawyer said, adding that she will be attending the farewell and looks forward most to revisiting her old lecture theatres.

“I am certain this walk down memory lane will jog many more wonderful memories of the campus and my time in RJC, which were undoubtedly some of the best years of my life,” Ms Chin added.

Credit: The Straits Times

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