NKOMBO KACHEMBA, Kitwe
OPTIQUEST Corporation Limited (OCL), a private company, has signed a development agreement with the Copperbelt University (CBU) for the construction of studentsâ€™ hostels and a commercial park at a cost of US$104 million.
The project, which is being done under a public private partnership (PPP) agreement, also seeks to upgrade the existing infrastructure at the learning institution and develop a commercial park comprising a modern conference facility, hotel, hospital and office park.
OCL chief executive officer Pat Mwase and CBU deputy registrar Golden Kalima signed the collective agreement on Thursday which was witnessed by officials from the two parties.
In a press statement released in Kitwe yesterday, Ms Mwase said the construction of the hostels will create 4,000 bed spaces for the students at the higher learning institution.
She said the development agreement is aimed at transforming CBU into a multi-purpose development centre where people can engage in recreation as well as study.
â€œWe are incredibly excited to undertake this project which will not only benefit the students at the university but also the community in which it operates,â€ Ms Mwase said.
She said the project will be executed by a team of qualified, competent and skilled staff who will use the best practices to ensure that works are completed within the stipulated time frame.
Ms Mwase also said the agreement will hold the highest industrial ethics, superior professional standards and take into consideration issues of the environment as construction works start.
And CBU chancellor Muyunda Mwanalushi expressed happiness with the project which he said will help to improve standards of learning at the institution.
And CBU vice chancellor Naison Ngoma is optimistic that the construction of the hostels will help to mitigate the accommodation crisis at the higher learning institution.
Professor Ngoma said currently, CBU only has 2,150 bed spaces which are not adequate considering the high enrollment levels.
â€œWe are happy that you have partnered with us in improving infrastructure at our institution. Our university has not been able to grow because of lack of adequate infrastructure,â€ Prof Ngoma said.
NKOMBO KACHEMBA, Kitwe