UCU works to say goodbye to dust, mud on main campus
Originally posted at: https://www.ugandapartners.org/2019/12/ucu-works-to-say-goodbye-to-dust-mud-on-main-campus/
By Douglas Olum
It is a rainy Monday morning in central Uganda’s Mukono district. Resident and non-resident students are making their way to sit for end-of-semester exams at Uganda Christian University. At one of the gates, an off-campus student carries her shoes in her hand as she tiptoes through the mud. Others walk in mud-soaked shoes, sliding and leaping off the road to a safer haven on the grass leading to a gate.
Ivan Tsebeni, a second-year Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication student and member of the Guild Parliament representing the Faculty of Journalism, Media and Communication, says some of his peers missed classes in the previous weeks because of the mud.
“The problem is that you dress smartly from your room, but when you get to campus, one may think you are from the garden because of the mud,” Tsebeni said. “Some students cannot stand that.”
Mukono has a tropical climate with significant rainfall even during the driest month. In December 2019, Mukono was experiencing an unusually high amount of rainfall. According to climate-data.org, this area experiences roughly 50 inches a year.
To better serve students and faculty in both dry and dusty and wet and muddy weather, UCU is doing what it can inside its gates. The university is in the second phase of tarmacking of roads within the Mukono campus. The roads under construction are: Agape Road, Bethany Rise, Words of Hope Road, Kids Care Centre Road, and the Bishop Tucker Parking Yard.
The other areas being upgraded include the new Commercial Area, near the Janani Luwum Dining Hall, which is being excavated and the Words of Hope Parking Yard, which is set for tarmacking.
This phase two, 1.5-kilometer (just under 1 mile) road construction, which is estimated to cost shillings 1.7 billion shillings (about $460,000), is being done by Stirling Civil Engineering Ltd, a Uganda-based company, the same company which constructed the first phase.
In a recent interview, the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration who is also the Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Development and External Relations, David Mugawe, said the project was being subsidized by the development fund collections from students every semester. Students pay a sum of shillings 50,000 (about $13.5) per student, per semester as a development fee, alongside other functional fees.
Remmy Allan Mbulaka, the Guild Minister of Health who is also a member of Parliament representing the UCU School of Medicine, commended the university for acting against the dust and mud.
“I am happy that the university is doing this,” he said. “It should cover the entire campus so that dusts are reduced.”
In April 2017, the first phase of the roads construction covered 1.5 kilometers out of an estimated 3 kilometers (1.8 miles). The Vice Chancellor, Rev. Canon Dr. John Senyonyi, said that the project had been delayed due to the prohibitive cost of road construction.
“There is dust when it is sunny and dry as well as mud when it is raining,” the Vice Chancellor said. “But once we start [the construction], it will give us the commitment to continue working on the roads and ensure that UCU stands up to its quality as a university.”
The roads upgrade is part of the 2012-2018 UCU Strategic Plan, which also formed part of the University Master Plan. The second phase is planned for completion over four months – by February 2020.
Even with the muddy and dusty roads, Uganda Christian University has over the years, been ranked among the most beautiful universities in Africa because of its compound dotted with trees, modern architectural classroom blocks, library, halls of residence, lush green areas and the historical Bishop Tucker building.
A 2017 ranking by Christianuniversitiesonline.org placed UCU as the most beautiful Christian University in Africa. Another ranking by www.timeshighereducation.com in 2018 also placed UCU in the 9th position among top 10 most beautiful universities in Africa.
It is hoped among many staff and students that the completion of the roads construction will not only save them from the dust and mud, but also enhance the image of the university internationally.
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