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Makerere University main building to be demolished

 

Makerere University main building on fire in September last year. PHOTO VIA @MakerereU

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPNDENT & URN | Minister of ICT Chris Baryomunsi has announced that Cabinet has resolved to demolish what remains of the burnt Makerere University main building, and rebuild it.

“Cabinet decided that the Makerere main building be demolished and rebuilt. We have also directed the Minister of finance to release sh21 billion for the reconstruction of this main building,” he told the press today.

The Cabinet decision comes months after recommendations made late last year by a committee that was set up to study and assess the structural integrity of the burnt Makerere University main building. The committee recommended that the entire building be demolished.

The iconic building, also known as the Ivory Tower, was gutted by a mysterious fire on September 19th sending a shock wave across the country, as history spanning close to eight decades was reduced to ashes.

Days after the dark day, the University Council announced a restoration plan. However, there was a need to understand the integrity of the structure before a decision on the scope of the work could be taken.

Although he did not divulge details, Professor Barnabas Nawangwe, the University Vice-Chancellor says that the report highlighting the recommendation to demolish the building has been submitted to the University Council. The report was compiled by a joint team of engineers from the University’s engineering department and the Ministry of Works.

Quoting the report, Prof Nawangwe, who is also a professional architect says the building was extensively damaged because the technology used during its construction lacked reinforcement to strengthen concrete, plaster, or mortar by embedding steel rods or wire mesh in it. He adds that due to excessive heat, all the walls cracked and the best option at hand is demolishing it.

Prof. Nawangwe said the plan was to rebuild the structure using modern technology but ensuring that it looks exactly as it was.

The chief government valuer had valued the Ivory Tower at 15.4 billion Shillings. But in earlier interviews, Prof Nawangwe had indicated that restoration will certainly consume more money than that presented in the valuer’s report.

 

 

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