Based on consultations with engineers and technicians, the President of the University of Liberia (UL), Prof. Dr. Julius Julukon Sarwolo Nelson, Jr., has announced a new date for the resumption of classes which is meant to allow contractors to complete the first phase of massive renovation on the Capitol Hill and Fendall campuses.
Flanked by members of the University of Liberia Cabinet on Thursday, June 2. 2022, President Nelson said at a press conference that June 27, 2022 has been set as the new date for the resumption of classes because June 6, 2022, which was the targeted date, was no longer possible. “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,” said President Nelson during the press conference held in the conference room of the Nathaniel Cassell Building on the Capitol Hill Campus.
Providing further explanation on the funding of the renovation for the four campuses of the University of Liberia, President Nelson told journalists and the public that when the estimate was done, the conclusion was that a total amount of US$4.7m was needed for the entire work.
Out of the US$4.7m estimated, President Nelson explained that the Government of Liberia released to the University of Liberia an initial payment of US$375,000 for phase one of the project which covers UL Capitol Hill and Fendall campuses.
According to Dr. Nelson, in the budget process for 2022, the Government of Liberia has informed the University of Liberia that it will give US$1m in 2022 for the renovation exercise, keeping in mind that all the renovation will not be completed in 2022.
Additionally, President Nelson stated that following consultations with the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Hon. Nathaniel McGill, and the Minister of Finance for Development Planning, Hon. Samuel D. Tweah, on Wednesday, June 1, 2022, the Administration of the University of Liberia was informed that by Wednesday, June 8, 2022, the UL would have received the balance of the US$1m to enable contractors to accelerate the work.
Providing status update on the renovation process on Capitol Hill, President Nelson said that renovation has completed on the Firestone Quadrangle (FQ Building), which he said houses eleven classrooms, thirteen offices and three restrooms, including a restroom for male and female, as well as staff, and each restroom has four compartments. He furthered that the Tubman Hall, Robert Hall, the Samuel Greenleaf Hall, and the Elizabeth Tubman Hall (GD Building), among others, have been affected by the renovation project.
He also stated that the first phase of the renovation work covers key facilities on Capitol Hill including the rehabilitation of UL restrooms, drilling of boreholes on the campus and the erection of water towers for the supply of water in various restrooms, and various plumbing works.
On the issue of water supply for the UL Capitol Hill Campus, President Nelson disclosed that close to the Tubman Monument in the UL Park, contractors have drilled nearly 350 feet below sea level water and struck water gouging in usable content and quantity.
To ease the supply of water to buildings and restrooms on the Capitol Hill campus, President Nelson said a water tower would be erected to store water for onward distribution.
“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 in October 2021, 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),” said President Nelson.
He detailed that the Ministry of Public Works is carrying out the rehabilitation of the road network on the Capitol Hill Campus, adding that this aspect of the renovation is quite visible.
“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,” he continued.
He said the areas have been marked off with white paint to ensure compliance.
While the first phase of the renovation exercise focuses on the Capitol Hill campus, President Nelson said Fendall will not be left behind, explaining that the renovation team has already begun work on the Fendall campus.
Dr. Nelson however said the first phase of the work on the Fendall facilities will focus on the painting of classrooms, rehabilitation of restrooms and the connection of water lines from wells to buildings.