State-Run University Delays Student’s Education, Postpones Resumption of Classes again

The nation’s highest tertiary institution has again announced the postponement of reopening of classes at the state-run University of Liberia.

Speaking to reporter, Dr. Julius Sarwolo Nelson, cited renovation and rehabilitation exercise at the Institution as contributing factors.

According him, the first phase which commenced on April 6 was estimated to last five weeks and based on this estimation, the UL Administration, in consultation with stakeholders, announced the resumption of classes on June 6, 2022,” UL President Nelson said Thursday, May 2, 2022 when he addressed faculty and students on the status of the University at the UL Main Campus.

“The first phase covers key facilities at the UL Capitol Hill campus, including the rehabilitation 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, and the Samuel Greenleaf Hall.

“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.

“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, to do something about the dilapidated 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, to renovate these iconic structures,” the UL boss stated.

Meanwhile, according to the UL Boss, 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,” Dr. Nelson stated.

The renovation exercise follows several protests by the Faculty and students to have a safe learning environment for the students among other.

However, according to the UL boss, 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.

“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,” Dr. Nelson further disclosed.

Tubman Hall (TH Building)

Dr. Nelson furthered that renovation work started at Tubman Hall (TH) on April 13, 2022, with the debris on the flat roof of the building being completely removed, and the laying of bricks for constructing the roof completed. The TH Building consists of 18 classrooms, 47 offices and eight restrooms for male, female, and staff.  Each restroom has three compartments.

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.

Water Supply, Drilling of Boreholes and Erection of Water Towers

According to Dr. Nelson, 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.

“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 at supply at least 7,000 gallons of water a day,” Dr. Nelson disclosed.

Rehabilitation of the Road Network

The UL boss also disclosed that the Ministry of Public Works is carrying out the rehabilitation of the road network on the Capitol Hill Campus, and that 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,” Dr. Nelson said.

Fendall Will Not Be Left Out

Dr. Nelson said, while the first phase of the renovation exercise focuses on the Capitol Hill campus, Fendall Campus will not be left behind.

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