The first batch of 329 regular university students will join Kibabii University College in Bungoma county next Monday. The university, a constituent college of Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, was gazetted by President Kibaki in August last year. Prof Odeo Ipara, who is leading a team of 20 dons, has been on the campus since March 1 preparing to receive the students.
The construction of the institution, which sits on a 28.3 hectare plot bordering St Mary's High School, Kibabii, began in late 2007 after President Kibaki ordered Sh1.74 billion allocated for the project. Phase one of the project which was completed in April 2010 cost Sh2 billion after Public Works minister Chris Obure later gave the nod for the upscaling and redesigning of the facilities. Under phase one, an administration block, classrooms, hostels, dining and multi-purpose halls, learning resource centre, senior staff houses, lecture theatres and music unit blocks along with support and sports facilities were constructed.
Masinde Muliro university's Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof Sibilike Makhanu, who led a team of 14 dons toured the facility last October along with members of the university steering committee chaired Dr Mathew Murunga, were satisfied that the institution was ready to admit students this year.
The construction of the institution, which was originally intended to be a diploma teachers training college, had stalled for several yearsuntil it was taken over the Kakamega based university. Prof Ipara has said he will ensure a harmonious working relationship with nearby Kibabii diploma teachers college at Tuuti, whose Principal Jessica Simiyu, who was opposed to the takeover of the newly constructed facilities.
Currently, the diploma college has 504 trainees with a teaching staff of 80 and 62 subordinates. Initially, the university administration will grapple with several challenges among them water supply and accommodaton as the contractor struggles to complete the construction of the facilities.