Saturday, 10 August 2013

Largest playing field in Malaya

Which construction firm won the tender to build the main building at the Penang Free School in Green Lane, Penang? Here's an interesting news item, extracted from the Singapore Free Press of 5 Sept 1925, which should prick the curiosity of many Old Frees:

Largest Playing Field in Malaya

In Green Lane, far from the noise of motor cars and buses, the new Free School is rapidly nearing completion, and should be in use in the course of the next two years at the latest, says the Pinang Gazette. For a long time survey work and clearing up had gone on, and for the past year or so the P.W.D. were engaged in constructing the masters' quarters. These are now ready and Mr. W. Hamilton, headmaster of the Free School, and other European masters went into them a few days ago; now Messrs. Gammon and company, who have taken the contract of the school building itself have commenced operations and, according to the contract which was signed about a month ago, should "deliver" the building within 15 to 16 months' time.

The new Government School, when completed, should be an imposing one, not so much, perhaps, for its generous proportions, but for its setting and the immense area in which it is accommodated. Government has altogether set apart 31 acres for its new school, and of this no less than 12 acres are for a playing field. This playing field will be the biggest in the whole of Malaya and will be more than sufficient for a cricket field, two football grounds, hockey ground and tennis courts. The local Esplanade will offer no comparison and even the two combined esplanades in Singapore (the S.C.C. and S.R.C. grounds) will still be smaller than the new Free school esplanade.

The school building itself, which will be a two-floor structure, that is, a ground floor and upstairs, will occupy a space of 20,000 square feet and Messrs. Gammon and Company, it is understood, have undertaken its construction at a cost of 260,000 dollars.

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