|Apartment-style living at largest dorm|
Residents pose in the compound of Avery Lodge, which has well-appointed units and even an air-conditioned gym. -- ST PHOTO: STEPHANIE YEOW
AVERY Lodge is the largest, and quite likely the most well-appointed, workers' dormitory here.
Opened officially yesterday, the dorm brings apartment-style living to foreign workers: Each of the 486 units in it has a large bedroom, a living room, two showers and toilets, and even a kitchen area.
Each unit can house up to 18 workers, and even comes equipped with a cable TV point - workers have to provide their own TV sets, though.
Other features of the dorm, located in Jalan Papan in Jurong Industrial estate, include an air-conditioned gym and sweeping views of Sungei Bajau Kanan.
All this comes at a price: Employers have to pay top-dollar to house their workers there.
At $180 per worker a month, Avery Lodge, which can house 8,000, charges among the highest rates for worker housing in Singapore. An average dorm in a permanent building with a mass kitchen and a common TV room charges about $150 per worker.
But bosses are not baulking at the cost, and the dorm is already 80 per cent occupied.
Mr Kevin Song, director of marine company Jemix engineering, says the payoff for him comes in the form of higher morale and lower medical bills.
He said only 2 to 3 per cent of his 150 workers fall ill each month, compared to 5 to 10 per cent before they moved to Avery Lodge in March.
'They don't fall sick that often, which means medical costs are down and productivity is up,' he said.
Workers gave their new digs the thumbs-up.
Said Mr Hassan Hamid, a shipyard worker from Bangladesh, 32: 'I have lived in three dormitories, and this is the best and cleanest.'
Avery Lodge was built on one of the 11 new sites that have been released by the Government for dormitories since February 2007. The aim was to provide 65,000 new beds by 2010.
Avery Strategic Investments (ASI) is the majority shareholder of the new dormitory.