The University of Guyana on Friday commissioned a new building for its Facilities and Maintenance Division which was financed by the Ministry of Education at a cost of $26M.
Minister of Education, Nicolette Henry said that re-building Guyana’s education facilities and infrastructure is a priority for the Government of Guyana.
According to a release from the Ministry of Education, she said “Some may say that such a facility would not directly impact on the academic development and performance of the University but it must be recognized that such a facility will improve the efficiency of campus operations.”
She said that maintenance has long been identified as a sore point in the country’s development. With this new building, Henry expressed her strong belief that the quality of service provided by the University to its students and staff will improve to make the working and studying environment more accommodating.
According to Registrar of the University, Nigel Gravesande the Facilities and Maintenance Division has been in operation for more than four decades. He said that it began on the Turkeyen Campus as part of the Bursary Department under the supervision of the Bursary and to date, it is still seen as an important part of the Bursary.
He added that the department has expanded over the years to meet the maintenance needs and challenges at both the Turkeyen and Tain campuses.
According to the release, Gravesande added that in recent times the facilities at the Institutes of Distance and Continuing Education in Essequibo, Georgetown, New Amsterdam and Linden have expanded the need in areas of carpentry, electrical, plumbing, mechanical, estates, grounds, transport, custodial and buildings.
The Registrar added that although the Government of Guyana funded the construction of the building, the University also contributed $3.2 million.
Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Ivelaw Griffith in his remarks said that recently he met with cleaners at UG and told them that they are more important than they appreciate.
He said that when he had joined UG in 2016 having value for education and economics, it didn’t take long to realise that the working environment of maintenance staff needed to be taken care of.
As such, he said that the decision was made along with former Head of the Maintenance Division Danny Kudoo to have a new building for the maintenance staff.
According to the current Head of the Maintenance Division, Bjorn Williams, the new maintenance building is a product of a vision that was birthed two years ago with Kudoo. He said that since taking the helm of the division he has come to realise that there are a number of issues to be addressed.
A long-serving maintenance staff, Mr. Wong, said that Friday was a history-making day. He lauded the university’s administration and the Government of Guyana for facilitating the construction of the building and committed to working assiduously to make UG a better place.
Secretary of the Students’ Society, Devita Ramroop expressed her elation that there is a new building to house the maintenance division. She said, “We know that the building will contribute to the efficient and smooth running of the division and the University.”
Civil Engineer for the University of Guyana, Javid Samad explained that the contract for the construction of the building was awarded to M and P Investments. He said that construction began in December 2017 and ended in June 2018. The structure is 2700 square feet in size and will be used by approximately 100 staff.