The sod was turned on Friday for a new Science and Technology Building at the University of Guyana (UG) which is expected to benefit thousands of Guyanese in the coming years by expanding the current capabilities to meet the needs of a growing economy.
The project materialised through collaboration with the Greater Guyana Initiative (GGI) and will be constructed to the tune of US$2.25 million.
The Earth and Environmental faculty will also be housed in the new 5000 square-feet building, with adequate space for classrooms, modern laboratories, offices and auxiliary spaces. Petroleum and Geology laboratories will be added as areas of priority.
GGI and UG officials join other stakeholders to turn the sod for the new building
Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Verlyn Klass expressed, “Our faculty continues to grow, as many young persons want to push or participate in the country’s burgeoning oil and gas industry… It is our firm view that investments such as this one will allow the Faculty of Engineering to become more attractive while assisting us in producing better engineers and architects for the country skills and everything needed at this time.”
This year, the faculty graduated its highest number of students at more than 300. This represented a 72 per cent increase over the last six years.
Project Oversight Lead, Kofi Dalrymple added that the building will be equipped with solar panels and support the greater expansion of Guyana. Through this project, US$270,000 will also be expended to modernise the current building to adapt to new learning approaches.
“The design team comprises architects and engineers, from our very faculty. This has been and will continue to be a learning experience for our faculty, which hopes to execute these projects and develop the capacity and the capability to execute on these types of projects going forward as we learn to grapple with that,” Dalrymple explained.
Meanwhile, Country Manager at ExxonMobil Guyana, Alistair Routledge underscored that the future of the country depends upon the development of the people. Through the GGI, the oil giant has been able to support such development and he added that such facilities will increase capacity and the attractiveness of attending the campus.
Routledge recognised, “The world needs more engineers and scientists. It’s part of how we will manage climate change, how will we adapt and how will we deliver better solutions for our societies in the future. And so, this is a pivotal project in building the capability in the university and supporting that fantastic growth of the student membership and especially the woman.”
Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paloma Mohamed-Martin drew attention to the fact the faculty has been underfunded in both human and fiscal resources. However, at a time where the country needs four times the engineers that can be produced at UG, there is a push to have this groundbreaking facility up and running.
“I saw as Deputy Vice Chancellor, around 2017-2018, maybe about 100 or so, applicants to these programmes. And they would graduate maybe 30 to 40 people from the programmes. And all of a sudden, within two or three years, we were seeing 500 applicants, which maybe 300 were good applicants that they could take and train, but everything was small.”
She added that there were limited spaces for students to learn and share recreational time.
“The students have no recreational space. There’s no place for students in this faculty to meet to talk to each other…But when it rains, guess what? You can’t go out there. There’s no place for them to sit and eat and we understand how important this need for students to be able to collaborate with each other.”