The Straits Times/Asia News Network
Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has unveiled an ambitious five-year plan that will see Asia's largest wooden building being constructed on its campus at Nanyang Avenue.
Announcing what he called "moonshot" projects to propel NTU's next growth phrase - which includes a drive to hire hundreds of staff - the university's president Subra Suresh said on Monday (Aug 27) that the proposed six-storey wooden building will be the new home for Nanyang Business School.
When it is completed in 2021, the $180 million building will be Asia's largest wooden building at 40,000 gross sq m.
Professor Suresh told more than 2,000 staff at a university townhall meeting on Monday: "NTU's new academic building will be our most ambitious sustainable construction project to date.
"Ninety-five per cent of our buildings are already certified Green Mark Platinum, and we are seeking to be the greenest university campus in the world."
Designed by RSP Architects Planners Engineers, the firm behind Changi Airport Terminal 4, the building will be constructed using technology known as Mass-Engineered Timber.
The material for this building will be taken from renewable forests and prefabricated for installation onsite, which makes it less polluting and less labour-intensive than traditional construction methods.
In line with this environmentally-friendly push, NTU will also stop issuing plastic bags free of charge from Oct 1. Proceeds from the sale of any plastic bags at retail and food outlets will be channelled to NTU's assistance fund for students.
The university plans to reduce energy, water and waste intensity by 35 per cent in 2021, and by 50 per cent by 2025, from 2011 levels.
Prof Suresh also outlined a project to double the solar energy harnessed to power NTU to 9.9 mega-watts by 2019. This will supply between 7 and 10 per cent of the university's electricity needs.
NTU will also invest in new schemes to attract talent in hundreds of positions, in order to fuel its growth as a leading global research university, Prof Suresh said.
From this year, NTU will support 350 new two-year post-doctoral positions for researchers. It also plans to recruit about 300 faculty members and create up to 100 new named professorships. The target is to increase named professorships available at NTU ten-fold over the next five years,
New mechanisms to support PhD scholarships and undergraduate internships have also been identified, as NTU renewed its commitment to support the recruitment of top undergraduates through scholarships and bursaries.
"No deserving Singaporean student will be denied a world-class education at NTU because of financial or other impediments," Prof Suresh said.