Re-imagining the future of education – Here’s what to expect at SIT’s future ‘living lab’ campus!

Remember how the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) celebrated its 5th year as an autonomous university not too long ago? Hold your breath: there’s another momentous milestone in store!

Construction for SIT’s centralised campus has officially begun!

The future SIT campus is expected to be completed and operational in 2023. Are you as excited as we are? The Digital Senior team got the low-down on the future SIT campus: here’s what we have to share with you!

1. SIT’s Punggol Campus will achieve many firsts

How does it sound to become a student of the first sustainable self-powering university in the region?

SIT’s Punggol campus will be home to Southeast Asia’s first-ever Multi-Energy Micro-Grid (MEMG) -This is a collaborative research venture between the university and SP Group, that will not only supplement SIT’s power supply with clean energy, but also support the research, development and test-bedding of distributed energy systems, as well as cyber-security solutions.

Keep your eyes peeled for solar-panelled roofs—made up of approximately 10,000 square meters of photo-voltaic panels, they’ll be pretty hard to miss.

That’s not all! SIT will also be the first autonomous university to have its campus situated in the north-eastern region of Singapore, as well as the only university to overlook the waterfront. Lessons with a view? We can’t wait!

Did you know?

SIT’s future campus in Punggol has been 5 years in the making! Discussions for a consolidated campus began after SIT was officially granted autonomous status in 2014.

The view from the Node, the campus’s event plaza. (Image credits: SIT)

2. SIT wants to reimagine the University of the Future

Traditionally, the real environment is brought to the classroom via emulation—think labs and the experiments conducted within, for example.

Wouldn’t it be better if, in the words of Associate Professor Steven Wong, Director, Projects, Office of the Deputy President (Academic) & Provost, SIT, the classroom can be moved into the real world instead? In order to provide as authentic a learning environment as possible, SIT wants to turn its Punggol campus into a ‘living lab’!

In fact, the existing [email protected] Building has already been transformed into a ‘living lab’, in anticipation of the future campus. Students get to work on projects such as data collection through smart sensors, work on smart systems and even experience holographic projections.

So what will the future ‘living lab’ campus entail?

  • A user-centric, open innovation eco-system, where people, industry and community are actively invited to innovate and learn from the campus (yes, the campus will be open to the public via porous ground levels and public spaces!)
  • Exposure to leading-edge industry know-how for students, gained by working on interdisciplinary projects and the test-bedding of smart technologies. The MEMG is one such example to look forward to.

As a smart campus, the buildings will be wired with a network of over 10,000 sensors that will collect data such as temperature, ambient light and human presence. The data will be shared with an Integrated Building Management System and continuously analysed to make adjustments for an optimum building environment, which enhances the campus experience and workspace efficiency. In another first, SIT will also become the only university to have everything on cloud.

Academic Blocks (Image Credits: SIT)

3. The centralised campus is strategically located

Professor Tan Thiam Soon, President, SIT, shares with us that the SIT story is one of opportunity and optimism, and how SIT desires to see these qualities translated to an urban campus environment. In fact, it is Professor Tan’s hope that SIT will become a little town where people will feel right at home.

How will all this come to pass?

To achieve its aim of supporting Singapore as a regional hub for digital advancements and talent development,  the future campus will be housed right in the heart of the upcoming Punggol Digital District (PDD)! It will be co-located with JTC’s business park buildings, allowing  SIT and JTC to co-share spaces across their facilities.

This arrangement will see industry spaces located within SIT—offering greater access to real-world learning opportunities—and students attending classes in JTC’s buildings. New ideas conceived in SIT can be tested in the PDD and brought to market quicker; in return, companies will be able to tap on SIT’s applied learning and research capabilities, as well as talent pool in areas such as cybersecurity, food technology and allied health.

Remember how we mentioned that SIT will be open to the community? The campus’ event plaza, The Node, will be integrated with the civic commons of the future Punggol Coast MRT station! The public will also be invited to make use of the campus’ Maker Spaces and facilities. They can also stroll or cycle through the pedestrianised Campus Boulevard, with retail offerings and end-of-trip amenities like showers made available for use. Community classrooms and smart playgrounds are also in the works.

For those more inclined towards sports, you’ll be pleased to know that SIT’s centralised campus will be very close to the Punggol Regional Sports Centre. In fact, it’ll be right across the road.

Did you know?

SIT has its roots in the Polytechnic-Foreign Specialised Institutions scheme, which was introduced in 2005. Today, the university sees student enrolment at about 8000 students—a significant increase from the pioneer batch of 500 in 2010.

Learning spaces that’d be located between the Academic Blocks (Image credits: SIT)

4. It will also have tons of cool facilities and amenities

Occupying a total of approximately 91,000 square metres over two plots of land, the centralised SIT campus will have a total gross floor area of 240,000 square metres.

What can you expect to see?

Apart from the Academic Blocks that encompass a community park, which all academic clusters will share to encourage interdisciplinary collaborations, students will enjoy a food court built with mass engineered timber and a string of landscape features like rain and aquatic gardens. They will also enjoy collaborative loops linking campus buildings (and JTC’s buildings) with plenty of breakout spaces to encourage informal learning and exchanges. The Canopy Walk is one particular link way to look out for: naturally-ventilated, it will be 5 floors above the park and be surrounded by lush, tropical rainforest. Need to stay on campus after school hours? With all the lovely scenery, we’re sure it’ll be no chore!

A look at the massing model of the centralised campus

The groundbreaking ceremony (which formally begins a construction project) took place on 10 September 2019, and SIT students and alumni witnessing the event couldn’t be more excited!

“The distributed campuses have been great,” an enthusiastic SIT student shares, “but the future centralised campus will help (SIT students) foster a stronger sense of identity.”

“It’ll also make commuting to classes more convenient!”

Chen Zhangkai and Jessica Chung, both graduates from the DigiPen Institute of Technology, feel the same. The couple, who currently call Punggol home, see the consolidated campus as good news for residents; they too note how students will have more chances to interact with peers from other programmes, as compared to their days in university when opportunities were fewer and limited to events such as orientations.

All three are looking forward to attending the opening ceremony come 2023. So are we!

The Heritage Trail, which will be open to the public (image credits: SIT)

In the meantime, stay tuned as Digital Senior shares more about SIT! For more information on Singapore’s university of applied learning, why not check these out?

5 years young: everything you need to know about Singapore’s fifth autonomous university

50 Things about SIT You Need to Know: A Complete Guide to Singapore’s fifth public university

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