The Sunday News
Chrispen Gumunyu, Business Reporter
CONSTRUCTION of the $12 million upmarket accommodation facility to house more than 1 000 students in Bulawayo by the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ) has started.
IDBZ chief marketing and public relations officer Mrs Priscilla Zvobgo said construction work of the infrastructure located near the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) along Gwanda Road was progressing well and expected to be completed next year.
Construction of the hostels is part of the Government’s Transitional Stabilisation Programme Reforms Agenda aimed at improving the economy and position Zimbabwe as a middle-class economy by 2013.
“Construction of the Bulawayo student accommodation complex is currently at 35 percent completion. Foundation piling is complete, with the next stage being the laying of brickwork to the foundation. Once complete, the complex shall comprise three main blocks each being four storeys high. The expected project completion date is 30 June 2020, with the operational dates set to be the first semester of 2021,” said Mrs Zvobgo.
Apart from the student cottages, the complex will have a restaurant and commercial facilities such as grocery shops, gym and a pharmacy. Construction of the students’ accommodation facility is expected to ease the problem of accommodation, which have over the years been troubling tertiary learners in the city. Failure to obtain accommodation within campuses has seen most students, especially those from Nust resorting to renting rooms from the nearby suburbs.
“The facility is designed for 1 032 students occupying a total of 516 double rooms. Block B1 has 252 double rooms for females. Block B2 has 96 double rooms for males as well as Block B3, which will have 168 double rooms starting from the first floor upwards. The rooms are designed to carry two students each . . . Ablution facilities are communal with showers only.
“There shall be a main restaurant with a capacity of 400 students at a time, a laundromat and a supermarket in Block B1. Block B2 will have shops and a banking hall. Block B3 will house 12 small shops and four offices. Commercial facilities such as shops, gym, pharmacy and other commercial space will be open to the general public,” said Mrs Zvobgo.
She said a flyover footbridge across the Bulawayo-Gwanda highway would also be constructed in an effort to curb pedestrians from being hit by cars while crossing the road.
“The project includes a pedestrian flyover bridge to enhance the safety of students and the general public crossing the busy Bulawayo-Gwanda highway. The bridge is not for the exclusive use of students but will also be open to members of the public as a service to the Bulawayo community,” she said.