There are several schools in Singapore that have been left abandoned for years.
Former Upper Thomson Secondary School, Upper Thomson Road
Seated on a small hill opposite Springleaf Estate along Upper Thomson Road, the old school campus of Upper Thomson Secondary School, and later Seletar Institute, has been forgotten for almost two decades since its closure in 1997.
Upper Thomson Secondary School started in 1965, the same year Singapore achieved its independence. When it was first established, the classes were split into English and Chinese streams. In its first year, there were 13 classes of 484 Secondary One students taught in English and 10 classes of 365 students taught in Chinese.
As years went by, the number of student intakes rose to 1,500 to 2,000, where Chinese made up a majority of 80% or more. The school offered Secondary One to Four educations for all races of Singaporeans.
Despite limited budgets, Upper Thomson Secondary School had good facilities. Its premises consisted of a main block, assembly hall, a science laboratory block, basketball court and an artificial pond. Many early batches of Upper Thomson Secondary School students excelled in table tennis and badminton, winning numerous trophies in national competitions for their alma mater.
In 1988, the school was relocated to their new campus site at Yishun and had their name changed to North View Secondary School. The original name of Upper Thomson Secondary School had officially walked into the local history.
The old campus of Upper Thomson Secondary School was then taken over by Seletar Institute (SI), which was established in 1988. The old buildings were renovated with fresh coats of paint and installed with new air-conditioners. A library, conference room, gymnasium, art studio, staff lounge and computer room were also added.
Seletar Institute was one of the four original centralised institutes (CI) in Singapore that offered three-year study and General Certificate of Education Advanced Level (Singapore Cambridge). The other three were Outram Institute (OI), Jurong Institute (JI) and Townsville Institute (TI). Outram Institute and Jurong Institute had merged to form Millennia Institute (MI) in 2004, while Townsville Institute closed down in 1995.
Likewise, Seletar Institute could not escape the fate of closure as Ministry of Education (MOE) announced there would not be any more enrolment of ‘A’ Levels students in 1996. The institute was closed a year later, and the campus was left vacant and forgotten for more than a decade.
Former Braddell-Westlake Secondary School, Braddell Road
Elsewhere in Singapore, there is another abandoned school compound located along Braddell Road. It was the former Braddell-Westlake Secondary School. Although it was vacated only since 2005, the conditions of the buildings had deteriorated rapidly due to the lack of maintenance.
The most iconic feature of the former Braddell-Westlake Secondary School was its glass mosaic wall mural. Named The History of Development in Singapore and designed by the school’s former art teacher Ho Cheok Tin, the wall mural showcases as many as 15 Singapore’s past and present landmarks, such as the Singapore River, World Trade Centre, cable cars and the demolished National Theatre.
The old buildings will be demolished and replaced by a new Raffles Girls’ School (RGS) campus in the next couple of years.
Former Nanyang Polytechnic (Outram Campus), Jalan Bukit Merah
The former Outram Campus of Nanyang Polytechnic has been abandoned for some 15 years. Situated opposite the Silat Road Sikh Temple along Jalan Bukit Merah, the campus was Nanyang Polytechnic’s five temporary campuses when it was first established in April 1992; the other four being Bukit Merah, Tiong Bahru, Yishun and Jurong.
In 1998, Nanyang Polytechnic consolidated its schools and faculties and moved to a permanent site at Ang Mo Kio. The Outram Campus has since been vacated and forgotten, while the other four campuses were demolished and redeveloped.
Former Fuchun Primary School, Woodlands Centre Road
Located along Woodlands Centre Road, Fuchun Primary School was established on 2 January 1985 with an initial enrolment of 1,200 pupils in 37 classes. Former senior Parliament Secretary of National Development and Bukit Panjang Member of Parliament Lee Yiok Seng officiated its opening 14 August 1987.
As it was located very near to the Causeway and Johor Bahru, the former Fuchun Primary School was popular among the Malaysians who wanted their children to be educated in the Singapore Education System. Hence, the school saw its enrolment steadily increased over the years. By the mid-2000s, it had 53 classes and 2,037 students, serving mostly the children living at both the Woodlands and Marsiling vicinity.
Fuchun Primary School was shifted to Woodlands Avenue 1 in 2010, and its old campus at Woodlands Centre Road has been left vacant since then.
Also read about the stories of the abandoned and vacant schools elsewhere in Singapore:
Published: 02 May 2011
Updated: 18 May 2021