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[Places] Edusports Centre (Now Named Stephen Riady Centre)

Stephen Riady Centre / © blog.nus.edu.sg
Stephen Riady Centre / © blog.nus.edu.sg

Level 1: Restaurants, Convenience Stores and Visitor’s Centre

Level 2: Food court and Gymnasium

Level 3: Swimming Pool and Function Hall

Now, you may be thinking that I’m referring to a slew of facilities provided by the most recent hotelier development in town – and you’d actually be half-right.

The University Town has a new addition to its already expansive cluster of teaching facilities and residential spaces: the Edusports complex. Completed in December 2012, “the sporting and arts dimensions offered by EduSports complement the existing educational facilities at the Education Resource Centre” says Prof Tan Eng Chye, Provost and Deputy President (Academic Affairs) of the National University of Singapore (NUS), on his NUS Provost Blog. Following my own tour of the newly-completed Edusports, I must say I was impressed – and more.

The 15m high rock climbing wall / © Leong Mun Wai
The 15m high rock climbing wall / © Leong Mun Wai

As the name would suggest, Edusports definitely has its fair share of sports facilities. Fancy scaling all 3 levels of Edusports while having staircase phobia? Well, sports climbing enthusiasts may now challenge themselves with the newly-built 15 metres high rock climbing wall.  Always wanted to score a point reminiscent of that scene in the popular manga ‘Slamdunk’? There are now two indoor basketball courts in each Multi-Purpose Sports Hall which are flanked by seated spectator stands and an electronic score board. Aspiring to have a body like that of Ryan Gosling in the movie ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love’? Fret not, Edusports also has that covered.

Boasting a fully air-conditioned gymnasium with a wide range of fitness equipment and its very own aerobics room, NUS students may supplement their workout sessions with a few laps in the swimming pool just one level above it. Furthermore, in an effort to incorporate its fabulous surroundings, both facilities have been built to face the fabulous Town Green itself. Whether you’re sculpting your body into shape at the gymnasium or simply having a relaxing dip in the pool, you can enjoy a clear and gorgeous view of the Town Green. And for all you skeptics out there, the gymnasium and swimming pool will be fully accessible by NUS students for free during operating hours while NUS staff will be able to utilize the facilities after applying for a membership.

“Okay, so that fulfills the ‘sports’ part of Edusports. What else does it have to offer?” you may ask. Well, I’m glad you did,

On top of the nine seminar rooms and four lecture theatres that the complex has, there is also a Global Learning Room and an auditorium. What sets the Edusports auditorium apart from other campus auditoriums is not just its massive seating capacity of 470 people, including four handicapped spaces; but that it has both a stage and accompanying loading bay to accommodate small art performances. As the age-old saying goes, ‘practice makes perfect’, the dance studio, dance atelier and anteroom have been constructed to serve as performing spaces for dance, drama and music artistes alike to hone their crafts in conducive and favorable environments. The dance studio, for example, has been purposefully designed as a black box theatre – an intimate and flexible space which is only limited by the performer’s creativity and imagination. The dance atelier, which may double as a function hall, provides a rehearsal space primarily for dancers but may be converted for use for other performing arts. However, while the above two art rehearsal spaces may only be booked and used by official student groups and societies, the anteroom – consisting of practice and studio rooms – are open to all students for usage.  As these rooms are much smaller than the dance studio and dance atelier, they may be more appropriate for musicians to ‘jam out’ before their gigs.

POP Quiz : Where can you enjoy a delightful slice of cheesecake with a brew of hot coffee while perusing the latest Stephen King horror novel?

The new bookstore on campus / © blog.nus.edu.sg
The new bookstore on campus / © blog.nus.edu.sg

“Sure, I know! Where else but Star…” Let me just stop you right there before the name of the most ubiquitous coffee joint rolls off your tongue. Rather, I’m talking about the new lifestyle bookstore called Book Haven and its partner bakery café, Cedele. True to its name, the bookstore is a terrific refuge from the hustle and bustle of campus life. Time becomes an irrelevant commodity as everyone drifts around the store at their own pace.  Whether you’re running your fingers through the newest John Grisham novel, side-swiping the latest Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 at the Digital Lifestyle section or clutching that savoury smoked salmon sandwich at Cedele, it is evident that Book Haven has something for everyone.  Seeing as how Book Haven even has its own Gifts and Novelties section, I’m sure you’ll know where to head to if you ever need to throw an emergency birthday party.

“Edusports is the icing on the UTown cake. It really rounds off the entire experience as a resident, and with it, UTown becomes more and more like a home. The variety of food options available in Edusports is astounding. Especially for someone with dietary restrictions like me, having so many choices is a Godsend.” says Ikhsan Suri, a third year Physics major NUS student residing in Tembusu College.

The Multi-Purpose Sports Hall / © Li Zhengrong Eric
The Multi-Purpose Sports Hall / © Li Zhengrong Eric

Indeed, when an online petition raising concerns on the lack of Halal food options at The Deck began circulating late last year, NUSSU and the Office of Estate and Development sprung into action to address these concerns. On top of assuring students that there’ll be a minimum of two Halal stalls at The Deck come June 2013, the foodcourt at Edusports, Flavours@UTown, has opened with three of its food stalls certified Halal. With delicacies ranging from Western to Vegetarian, students have the choice of eating their meals while enjoying the day breeze or in an air-conditioned environment. Either way, patrons may soak in the view of the lush greenery that Town Green has to offer, which Flavours@UTown overlooks with aplomb.

Without a doubt, Edusports is the perfect addition to UTown with its blend of performing arts, sports and teaching facilities. In line with its intent to enrich peer learning and enhance social and cultural interactions, the Edusports complex will play host to live performances and film screenings as part of the NUS Arts Festival 2013. And while the annual NUS Open House is traditionally held at the Sports and Recreation Centre at the Kent Ridge Campus, this year will see Edusports become the central location to showcase NUS to all prospective students and their parents on 16th March 2013. It sure looks set to be an exciting month of March!

Lastly, you must have realized how often I have brought up Town Green in this article. As abundant as this space is, one thing it definitely lacks is privacy. So the next time you’re at Edusports, head up the staircase just next to the Si Chuan food stall at Flavours@UTown – and remember to bring your camera along!

 

Li Zhengrong Eric