Makerere to pull down iconic main building

Police fire brigade officers put out fire at the Makarere University main building on November 20, 2020. Inset is the building before it caught fire. PHOTOs/ABUBAKER LUBOWA/COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • The iconic building caught fire on November 20, 2020 and has developed cracks.

The 81-year old iconic Makerere University main building that caught fire in 2020, will be demolished in two weeks’ time to pave way for construction of a similar building, Daily Monitor has learnt.

The building caught fire on November 20, 2020 and has developed cracks. 

The historic building is unique and  is the university’s most recognisable symbol. 
It also keeps crucial records and documents that date way back, kept in the various offices.

The building has a 20th-Century British architecture. Its construction was completed in 1941 during the leadership of Mr George C. Turner.

Currently, the university management has handed over the site to contractors, Excel Construction Company, for the project.

The project
In an interview with the Daily Monitor yesterday, the university vice chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, said the building should be completed in time for the university’s century celebrations in August.

“We handed over the site to Excel Construction Company that won the bid. They are slated to start construction immediately. If they work day and night, the building should be ready before we celebrate our 100 years,” Prof Nawangwe said yesterday.

The main building houses a number of offices for the university’s top managers, including the vice chancellor, deputy vice chancellor in-charge of finance and administration, the university secretary and the university bursar.

Part of the building that caught fire held staff and students’ records.

Prof Nawangwe said since the fire affected the entire building, which has since developed cracks, it is going to be brought down and constructed afresh.

Cabinet last year approved Shs21b for reconstruction of the main building to match its previous form as a way of conserving its architectural character. 

Cabinet also approved the entire demolition of the building.

Prof Nawangwe said Parliament approved the supplementary budget and Ministry of Finance would soon release the funds.

Prof Nawangwe appealed to the Ministry of Finance to release this money to enable the university pay the contractor at every stage of construction.

Meanwhile, whereas the government approved Shs21b for reconstruction of the main building, the money does not cover equipment such as furniture, computers and documents, among other items that were destroyed in the fire.

The university management has since said it will at a later date request the government to release funds for these items.