By HOMELAND MEDIA TEAM
Makerere University has secured Shillings 8 billion from the government to commence the renovation of Lumumba hall, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Barnabas Nawangwe, has revealed. The hall has been vacant for over eight months after students were asked to vacate for the impending renovations.
The government-sponsored students were relocated to other halls of residence, while privately sponsored counterparts secured alternative accommodation elsewhere. Professor Nawangwe says that the renovation is expected to begin in two weeks, and a budget of at least Shillings 100 billion is required to renovate all the halls of residence at the university.
The renovation will be conducted in phases due to the inability to secure the entire amount required.
The student halls of residence at Makerere University have been a persistent cause for concern over the years. The facilities have been plagued by various issues, including peeling walls, leaking ceilings, shattered windows, and dilapidated bathrooms.
Members of parliament visited the university in 2019 as part of the probe over the impasse at Makerere due to the 15% cumulative tuition increment and recommended a complete renovation of the halls. Lumumba Hall’s Block C has been closed since 2006, accommodating close to 200 students before its closure. Other halls lined up for renovation include Mitchell hall, Livingstone, Nsibirwa, Nkrumah, University hall, Complex hall, Africa hall, and Mary Stewart hall.
In addition, Professor Nawangwe stated that the construction of the university’s iconic main building, the Ivory Tower, is at approximately 35%, and he believes it will be ready for occupation by the end of 2023. The historic building was gutted by fire in September 2020, and a report compiled by the Criminal Investigations Department and the Ministry of Works confirmed that the blaze was caused by a short circuit in the faulty electrical system.
According to the initial plans, a section of the building was slated for demolition, and a new structure was to be erected, with work to be completed before September 8, 2022, in anticipation of the centennial celebrations. However, the target was not reached.
The plans were derailed after the basement, which housed the printer, was discovered to be in a state of disrepair, with weakened walls that posed a safety risk during the demolition process. As a result, the plans were revised to include the rebuilding of the basement, but most of the structural work has been completed, and they are preparing to start roofing it.