Have you ever thought of spending retirement life in a school?
Bukit Batok MP Murali Pillai threw up this suggestion of turning vacant school sites into retirement villages during the recent Parliament.
This suggestion is now being studied by the authorities.
Actually, not a bad idea right? Like what National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said of such projects in his written reply:
“Their location within established housing estates will enable residents to age in residential surroundings.”
After all what could be better than ageing in a place that is familiar like home, and with the bonus of having communal facilities for the elderly? Quite swee leh.
And in case you don’t know, retirement villages ARE NOT old folks home. They are spaces with elderly-friendly features for seniors to live independently and actively. In fact, we already have one done up in 2017. Read here to find out more.
Minister Wong also said that the relatively large site area of a school can accommodate a significant number of housing units and common spaces, allowing residents to interact with one another and develop a sense of community.
And the minister also didn’t forget to remind us that its not all rosy as it seems, because “there are also costs involved to rejuvenate the ageing vacant school properties and reconfigure them for housing purposes“.
Considering that Singapore has limited land space and housing prices are shooting up like nobody’s business, this is in fact a workable option as a substantial portion of the development cost is already saved by tapping on existing infrastructures. And provided that the homes are priced fairly, these savings could eventually be enjoyed by elderly folks buying these spaces. Although its sibei sad that more schools will be vacant in the future as we are not producing enough kids to go to school, rather than tearing down these school sites, wouldn’t it be better to just transform existing infrastructures to meet new needs? Got potential right!
That said, it is also important to ensure that we do not blindly turn vacant sites into retirement villages without assessing the needs and demands of the residents living in these areas. Public consultation is still important k.