A Sh10 billion university is set to be built in Utange courtesy of the African University Trust of Kenya (AUTK).
The proposed Mombasa International University (MIU) campus will stand on 84 acres, hugging the expansive Shimo la Tewa Prison farm and overlooking the scenic Mtwapa Creek.
According to AUTK founder member and MIU trustee, Feisal Sherman, the first phase of construction will comprise accommodation facilities and classes to host faculties of Islamic studies, Information and Communication Technology, economics and political science.
“The contractor is already on site and has 18 months (until August 2016) to complete the first phase. We expect to admit the first lot of students in September 2016,” he said.
Mr Sherman said as the construction works are going on, AUTK is working with the Commission for University Education to ensure they get accreditation.
Once fully operational, the university campus is expected to have a student population of 5,000.
“Twenty per cent of these, or about 1,000, will be needy students who will be on full scholarship, with priority being given to residents of Utange and its immediate environs. We also expect to hire at least 2,000 locals in technical and non- technical fields,” he said.
Mr Sherman said the second and third phases would cater for classes that will teach marine science studies, education, sciences, health sciences, humanities and social sciences, law, medicine and engineering.
“To make teaching marine sciences possible, the institution will explore Mtwapa Creek and build a marina and port harbour facilities,” he said.
Other expected facilities and amenities include a multi-purpose soccer pitch, basketball and tennis courts, amphitheatre and a water treatment plant.
There will also be a cafeteria, libraries, lecture halls, dining halls, student club offices, study rooms, supermarket, male/female hair salons, dry cleaner, post office, bank, seminar halls, computer laboratories, male and female dormitories, a health centre and administration block.
“During the different phases of construction, at least 500 local labourers will be employed for a period of 10 years. Contracts to supply building materials will be given to local dealers,” he said.
The university trustee said they were working to find an amicable solution to objections raised by squatters who have occupied the land earmarked for the project for some time.
“We might lose this project to Tanzania or Somalia unless we urgently address this obstruction brought on by squatters. We are keen to achieve education goals outlined in Vision 2030 and will not allow the project to be taken away from us,” he said.
Residents, led by Majaoni Squatter Settlement Committee Chairman, Julius Lewa, said they looked forward to seeing the project completed as it is expected to provide a major boost to the local economy.
“The establishment of this university will be a game changer as it will open up opportunities for us to excel in different spheres of the economy,” he said.