By Vusumuzi Dube
The Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ)-owned Bulawayo Student Accommodation complex is expected to take in its first students this month with one of the wings now at 96 percent completion.
The complex is being constructed at Selbourne Park next to the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) at a cost of US$14,8 million. The project, first mooted in 2016 under a programme called the University Students and Staff Accommodation Programme (USSAP) was initially meant to be completed in November this year. It is being undertaken through a joint venture between the IDBZ and three institutional investors, namely Old Mutual, Zimnat and Motor Industry Pension Fund.
Responding to written questions from Sunday News, IDBZ chief communications officer Mrs Priscillah Zvobgo revealed that their overall projection was that the project will be ready for commissioning in February next year.
“Overall completion is at 74 percent, with Block Three at 96 percent and expected to be occupied this semester. Block Two and Block One will be ready for occupation in November 2021 and February 2022 respectively.
“The project will be completed by end of February 2022. The project has suffered delays such as Covid-19 lockdown restrictions which resulted in losing 1,5 hours per person daily, shortage of forex for imported materials, shortage of skilled manpower and load shedding, among other delays,” said Mrs Zvobgo.
According to Mrs Zvobgo, once complete, the project will accommodate 1 032 students within the three blocks and will also have a canteen and a laundry facility.
“A canteen and laundry facility will be available for the students. It will be a secure and conducive environment for effective study not far away from Nust and close enough to other colleges in town. The project has considered solar geysers and solar public lighting to manage energy requirements. There will also be commercial space on the ground floor which includes a supermarket and other basic amenities required by students. These will also be open to the public, thereby benefiting the community,” she said.
After completion of the Bulawayo facility, the bank will also construct another one in Lupane, with an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) already being conducted at the identified site.
“The IDBZ is looking at construction of student accommodation at other State universities as well. Next project site is in Lupane for Lupane State University students, designs have already been approved and the bank is in the process of carrying out an (Environmental and Social Impact Assessment) ESIA. This will be followed by procuring of a contractor. For other State universities, the projects are at various stages of development,” said Mrs Zvobgo.
Under the University Students and Staff Accommodation Programme (USSAP), IDBZ will spearhead the construction of accommodation facilities for students and staff at universities and other tertiary institutions across the country.
This programme is a critical intervention in complementing Government efforts towards alleviating the plight of students and staff by providing secure and affordable accommodation facilities which are conducive for effective teaching and learning. The Sunday News