Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Makerere University Main Building famously known as the Ivory Tower will be ready by July this year, according to Vice-Chancellor Professor Barnabas Nawangwe.
Nawangwe told URN most of the structural works have been completed over the past few years, and what is remaining is completion works and also repairing the roof over the main hall.
Nawangwe shared that he hopes most of the equipment that has been ordered from abroad will arrive in good time to enable the contractor to hand over the building in July as to the University management has been promised.
Fire gutted the historic building in September 2020. The mystery fire, according to a report compiled by the Criminal Investigations Department and the Ministry of Works resulted from a short circuit arising from a faulty electrical system.
Since then, the government allocated Shillings 21 billion for the restoration works of the historic building, whose original construction began in 1938 with funding from several sources including regional governments, the Uganda protectorate government, and several individuals.
Initially, the plan was to have the building restored in record time and have it ready by the time of the University’s centenary celebrations as a gift for the centenary celebrations that took place in October 2022.
However, in May 2022, URN reported that Satvinder Saini, the Director of Excel Construction Ltd, which is handling the restoration works had said that it would not be possible to have the site ready on record time.
Saini noted that the construction works were delayed by the demolition of the then-existing structure whose integrity was questioned by engineers who recommended its demolition. He, then explained that the demolition was taking too long because they wanted to preserve some of the windows and other items that survived the fire.
Nawangwe, also in an interview with URN last year, said that the entire 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.
Many of the offices that were previously housed in the main building are now located in Frank Kalimuzo CTF 1. These include the Vice-Chancellor’s Office, his deputies, the University Secretary, and the University Council Room, among others.