Ladies and Gentlemen:
I bring you greetings from the Administration of the University of Liberia and its key stakeholders. As you may be aware, the University of Liberia is currently in the thick of a major renovation and rehabilitation exercise intended to ameliorate the teaching and learning environment on all campuses of the University of Liberia. It is being executed by technicians of the UL Administration as well as four agencies of the Government of Liberia—the General Services Agency (GSA), the Ministry of Public Works, the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) and LACC.
Given the scope and nature of work, which is expected to be done, it was decided that the renovation be segmented in phases. The first phase commenced on April 6 and was estimated to last five weeks. Based on this estimation, the UL Administration, in consultation with stakeholders, announced the resumption of classes on June 6, 2022.
The GSA and Ministry of Public Works are leading the first phase of the renovation, which affects mainly our Capitol Hill campus, and to a lesser extent, Fendall.
I am pleased to present to you some updates on the status of the work that has been completed and the implications for the resumption of classes.
The first phase covers key facilities at the UL Capitol Hill campus, including the rehabilitation of restrooms, drilling of boreholes and the erection of water towers for the supply of water in various restrooms, and various plumbing works.
Buildings on Capitol Hill that have been affected include the Firestone Quadrangle (FQ Building), the Tubman Hall, Robert Hall, the Samuel Greenleaf Hall, and the Elizabeth Tubman Hall (GD Building).
These buildings are by themselves now iconic because of the number of years they have performed the singular function of serving as the citadel of teaching and learning at this institution, from which thousands of students found great solace in the rectangular classroom spaces they offer; or hurried to classes through their narrow hallways, or climbed their several flights of stairs; or sat on their balconies– all in the hot pursuit of drinking from the fountain of knowledge at the University of Liberia.
While these buildings and structures hold many cherished memories and recollections for many of us, however, it is so saddened that many of these very structures that we so dearly revered, have never been a subject of any serious and massive renovation or repair for more than three decades since the founding of the University of Liberia, in 1951.
Ladies and gentlemen, if these buildings mean anything to us, and if they are still as relevant to the present generation as they were to the past, then it is now imperative that we, as managers and custodians of this great institution, do something about the delipidated state of these buildings and entire campus of one of Africa’s oldest Universities.
This is what the renovation is all about: to restore, repair, and renovate these iconic structures.
As you may recall, the renovation of the University of Liberia, grew out of a tripartite agreement consummated last October 1 into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) among key stakeholders comprising, the University of Liberia Administration, the University of Liberia Faculty Association (ULFA), and the Government of Liberia, represented by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP).
The MoU, in pertinent part, requires the Government of Liberia to provide funding and thus it was estimated that more than US$4 million dollars is needed to fix, repair, restore and reconstruct existing and new infrastructure of the University of Liberia.
To this end, an initial fund of $375, 000.000 (Three hundred seventy-five thousand United States Dollars) was provided by the GOL to jumpstart the first phase of the renovation.
The entire renovation covers the Capitol Hill, Fendall, College of Health Science (Congo Town), and the Grand Cape Mount – based David A. Straz – Sinje Campuses.
A joint team representing the GSA, the Ministry of Public Works, and the University Plant Operations Department (POD), conducted a comprehensive assessment to ascertain the extent of the work required to be done and the associated cost.
Following the assessment, the renovation was divided into phases, with the first phase covering Capitol Hill, specifically, the Firestone Quadrangle (FQ), the Tubman Hall (TH), the UL Auditorium, Robert Hall, Cassell Building, and the Samuel Greenleaf Hall.
Firestone Quadrangle Building (FQ) Completed
Renovation work has been completed on the FQ Building, which houses eleven classrooms, thirteen offices and three restrooms, including a restroom for male and female, as well staff, and each restroom has four compartments.
The roof the FQ Building was replaced with quality timbers and zincs; all electrical fixtures replaced with new ones, all eleven classrooms and thirteen offices painted, and restrooms retabulated including the replacement of commodes, urinal pipes and other fittings as well as the excavation of old sewage pipes which were replaced with new pipes.
Accordingly, all padlocks, windows on classrooms and offices are being replaced. Also, steel bars on the front of the FQ Building and laying of tiles in the newly created restrooms are nearing completion.
Tubman Hall (TH Building)
The Tubman Hall (TH) Building consists of 18 classrooms, 47 offices and eight restrooms for male, female, and staff. Each restroom has three compartments.
Renovation work at TH began on April 13, 2022. The debris on the flat roof of the building has been completely removed and the laying of bricks for constructing the roof has been completed.
However, additional work is still ongoing on the building and include laying of timbers over the building for roofing, removal of damaged electrical fixtures in the walls, replacement of damaged plumbing fixtures and fittings, the removal of damaged sewage pipes and upgrading of the sewage system.
Additionally, all external paintings, windows and doors replacement, restrooms, electrical works on the Capitol Hill Campus in FQ have been completed.
Let me thank the team from GSA for leading this effort.
Water Supply, Drilling of Boreholes and Erection of Water Towers
One of the perennial problems that inconveniences teaching and learning on Capitol Hill is the lack of adequate water supply in bathroom stalls. The task of remedying this problem was assigned to the Ministry of Public Works. A search for water was conducted using the vertical echo sounding (VES) to identify possible locations for the drilling of boreholes.
Drilling of the boreholes began in the first week of May. Four possible sites were originally identified. A first attempt at finding water, behind the Law School, proved futile as engineers from Public Works drilled nearly 400 feet below sea level an entire day, and found no water in usable quantity.
Of course, there was some disappointment, but the team was determined. A second site, in the UL Park, close to the Tubman Monument, the hardworking team drilled nearly 350 feet below sea water and struck water gouging in usable content and quantity. A water tower would be erected to store water for onward distribution to various buildings on the Capitol Hill campus.
Ladies and gentlemen, just like how we solved the perennial problem of our registration system, we have now another perennial problem—the lack of adequate water supply.
When completed, this borehole well has a capacity to supply at least 7,000 gallons of water a day.
Rehabilitation of the Road Network
The Ministry of Public Works is carrying out the rehabilitation of the road network on the Capitol Hill Campus. This aspect of the renovation is quite visible to the naked eyes. The sections of our road to be repaired include the area at the back gate coming from the Stella Maris campus, the road divider in front of FQ, the driveway leading to the Cassell building, the front of the main gate coming from the Capitol Building to the end of the driveway leading to TH. The areas have been marked off with white paint to ensure compliance.
Painting, doors replacement, roof repair, electrical works on the Tubman Hall, TH Building, the Robert Hall, the Samuel Greenleaf Hall, GH Building and the UL Capitol Hill Auditorium will be completed in about three weeks.
Fendall Will Not Be Left Out
While the first phase of the renovation exercise focuses on the Capitol Hill campus, let me use this opportunity to inform you that FENDALL will not be left behind.
The renovation team has already begun work at Fendall; however, during this first phase, the work will focus on the painting of classrooms, rehabilitation of restrooms and the connection of water lines from wells to buildings.
Ladies and gentlemen, members of the fourth estate, the current renovation exercise has raised several valid questions and concerns but paramount among them is the question regarding the resumption of classes.
In fact, this is the number one question on the lips of everyone—mainly our students but other stakeholders—”When will classes resume on June 6 in light of the renovation?”
Eager to return to classes to do what they know best; some members of our faculty have been asking this question as to when school will open. Our students are equally anxious to return to classes after a period of being away—without whom our campuses are dormant and a place of great boredom and want to know whether they will return on June 6.
The staff of the University of Liberia is also asking; many of them feel a light workload in light of the absence of the students and faculty.
And those of us entrusted with the management of the institution are also equally eager to resume classes—hence our initial announcement of June 6 resumption— have had an opportunity to consult with engineers and technicians in charge of the renovation.
Based on consultations with engineers and technicians, especially given the extent of the work yet completed, an additional three weeks is needed to complete the first phase of the renovation.
Therefore, I regret to announce that the June 6 date scheduled for the resumption of classes is not possible. A new date of Monday, June 27, 2022, is now set for the resumption of classes at the University of Liberia.
I thank you!