For the last two years, participants at Mbarara University of Science and Technology’s graduation ceremonies have been hearing about plans to start a new campus at Kihumuro.
Now construction on the 189-acre site, located 7km along the Mbarara-Bushenyi highway, is underway. According to the university’s deputy vice chancellor, Assoc Prof Pamela Mbabazi, the project is in advanced stages and the first offices and lecture rooms should be ready for occupancy in 2014.
She explains that the government has spent Shs 5bn on the project in the last two years. The state also recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the African Development bank to provide a $12m loan to speed up construction.
The university has planned several five storeyed structures. The first structure, to host the faculty of Applied Technology, will feature offices for nearly all senior officers at the university, four lecture theatres, laboratories, reading rooms and social facilities.
“In future, all staff will relocate to Kihumuro and only the college of Health Sciences will stay at the Mbarara hospital to run the medical school and related fields like pharmacy and biomedical sciences,” Mbabazi said.
The campus will host several specialised science programmes, including chemical and petroleum engineering, among others. The cool atmosphere at Kihumuro contrasts sharply with the university’s current location in the heart of Mbarara town where street noise abounds.
Kihumuro is almost 2km off the main Mbarara-Bushenyi road, with undulating hills overlooking the National Agricultural Research Organisation test site. The university’s estates and works’ department staff are already on site and more will join them by the time of the next graduation ceremony in February.