The Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST), which was handed over to government in July this year has been constructed without a physical master plan and its design is said to be awkward.
Chinese Civil Engineering Construction did the design and construction of the university at the cost of P429 million. Information gathered by this publication is that the abnormalities were discovered later after the handover, and the BIUST acted swiftly by placing an advert calling for the consultancy services for the development of campus master plan.
Tender number BIUST 12-13/006 was placed in the media after the inauguration of former president Festus Mogae as the university chancellor. The tender invited prospective proponents to submit bids for the provision of developing a BIUST campus physical master plan.
According to one of the former architects at the Ministry of Infrastructure, Science and Technology (MIST), though the master plan can be done later, it is embarrassing to design one after construction. “This is a big infrastructure which must have a physical master plan before construction so as to know how to place your buildings and for future developments.”
He said that the master plan must have been included in the initial tender and that due to that omission the university is going to incur extra costs, which could have been avoided. The other abnormality of the science and technology university is its design, which is said to be flimsy and lack proper planning.
The southern gate passes through the students’ residence while the northern one goes past the staff houses. “There is no focal point when you enter the university, and the tower and the administration block are just haphazardly placed.
The tower and the administration block should have been the landmarks of the university and be at the entrance rather than in the middle of nowhere and it also exposes the privacy of the staff and that of the students as visitors pass through them before they enter the administration block.’’
The administration block is also connected to the teaching labs and refectory, which is feared is going to force management to change it as the student population and lecturers increase. All these are blamed on poor project monitoring and poor governance of the project.
BIUST project has not been without controversy, last year the review committee questioned the construction of the 24.5 km wall worth P22 million and the use of face brick on its construction. In its report, which was handed to ministry of education and skills development top brass, the committee observed that lack of clarity of roles between the BIUST council and the ministry, between the council, the project implementation team and other stakeholders led to confusion and highly disoriented implementation of the project process.
The review Committee also observed and established that the founding development has been wrongly situated on the plot in that it is not at the originally intended position. The contractor, CCEC, was liquidated and levied for damages amounting to P21 million for finishing the project behind schedule.
The project, which commenced in March 2008 and scheduled for completion in September 2009 was only handed to government in July this year. It has been built on 2500 hectares of land and phase one development is to accommodate 256 students while on completion the intake will be 6000. Currently BIUST students are accommodated at Oodi College of Applied Arts and Technology.