Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Prof.Barnabas Nawangwe has said the university will rely mainly on their alumni to raise funds to enable them reconstruct the main building.
Almost two weeks ago, a Sunday morning fire that started from the Public Relations office razed the main administration building at Makerere University destroying invaluable records and property worth millions of shillings.
Addressing journalists on Thursday, Nawangwe said they have over 300,000 alumni all over the world that he said can contribute to the rebuilding of the Ivory Tower.
“In America only, there are 40,000 alumni but majority of them are here in Uganda. There are also those who worked here and have formed clubs. These would like to see the building restored. We have established mechanism through which the alumni can start contributing and we would be grateful if they start contributing,”Nawangwe told journalists.
Asked about the cost for rebuilding the Ivory Tower, Prof.Nawangwe explained that an earlier valuation by the government valuer put the building at shs15 billion but noted that not all of the structure was razed down by the fire.
“The basement of the building was not burnt and this means, it will not cost shs15 billion to reconstruct it. Our target is collecting at least shs15 billion shillings since we are going to use modern materials which are expensive,” he noted.
A number of people have argued that it is too early to start thinking of rebuilding the Makerere University Main Administration Building before investigations into the cause of the fire is established by police.
The university Vice Chancellor admitted that whereas they are waiting for a preliminary report about the cause of the fire, they cannot take years without thinking about rebuilding the Ivory Tower.
“Supposing the investigation takes seven years! We all concerned about investigations but we want to rebuild it. We want to rebuild it because it is an iconic symbol not only in Uganda but in East and Central Africa and the world at large,” Nawangwe said.
Underscoring the importance of the Ivory Tower’s architectural importance comparable to only the National Theatre, not only in Uganda but world over due to its unique designs, the Makerere University said the building has to be restored sooner than later.
“The least we can do is restoring it to its former state. We are not going to wait . We want the building restored before 100 years of existence.
About the main building
According to Makerere University, the Main Administration Building was completed in 1941 under the leadership of George C. Turner, the Principal, Makerere College (1939-46).
Earlier in 1938, the Duke of Gloucester, representing His Majesty King George VI had cut the first sod for the construction of the building on 3rd November.
The Main Building with its unique 20th-century British architecture is easily Makerere’s most recognisable symbol and was constructed with funds from the Colonial Development house.
The building’s construction was greatly delayed by a scarcity of resources to purchase materials as Britain and her allies grappled with the expenses of World War II.
As a result, some of the carpentry work had to be done on-site at the Technical College.
The Principal then focused on turning Makerere into a University College and establishing buildings. As a result both the St. Francis and St. Augustine Chapels were completed in the same year 1941 and by 1944, plans for the establishment of a School of Civil Engineering at Makerere were already being discussed by the British House of Commons