The NEWS (Monrovia)

Liberia: Construction Work Finally Resumes

Following months of stoppage in the construction of the Bong Technical College (BTC), contractor has finally resumed work with a new time table set for the college to be completed by May 2012.

Full academic activities will commence in September 2013, according to authorities of the county.

In recent times, concerns mounted in Gbarnga, central Liberia amongst ordinary citizens regarding the slow pace of work at the College, one of several projects financed through the county social development fund.

The college is being constructed by the Liberia-China United Construction Company hired in late 2010 by the leadership of Bong County to construct the US$4.4 million community college within a project time frame of eighteen months.

Despite the payment of over US$800,000 to the company in July of this year, for the last few months, there was no active work being done at the construction site which created room for residents of Gbarnga to ponder as to what is responsible for the slow pace of the project.

In a recent radio interview in Gbarnga, Bong County Project Specialist Thomas Cisco disclosed that Liberia -China United Construction has secured funding to resume work at the college.

He indicated the company also signed a performance bond with the county to ensure it remains committed to the new time table set for the completion of the college.

The Bong County Project Specialist stressed that if the company fails to work in the scope of the memorandum signed with the county, the leadership of Bong will be left with no other option but to institute legal action against the company for default of contract.

"We have asked the Chinese company to beef-up its manpower in order to beat the deadline apportioned for the completion of this project," the project specialist told reporters.

Giving a technical brief of the building under construction, Mr. Cisco disclosed the college building will contain more than forty five classrooms, over fifty offices including departmental conference centers and a theater to be located in middle of the facility.

During a recent tour of the college facility, the head of the interim management team of the college, Dr. John Flomo expressed delight over the level work that has been done by contractors in getting the college ready for students.

Dr. Flomo disclosed that while the college is still under construction, the interim team has acquired an office space in Gbarnga to commence effective work leading to the opening of the college probably in early September 2013.

"We have already commenced curriculum development for the college to conform to international standards in running the institution of higher learning most especially when we are talking about technical college education," the Bong Technical College Interim President intoned.

The BTC interim head further mentioned that the curriculum currently under construction focuses on six technical disciplines that will provide marketable skills to students that would enable them attract employment.

He said courses expected to be offered at the college will include; Mining Engineering, Civil Engineering, Agriculture Technology, Computer Engineering, Teacher Education and Nursing.

Speaking on the issue of recruiting the requisite faculty members, Dr. Flomo indicated they are currently scouting for qualified professors and lecturers both nationally and internationally to provide the needed education for students to enroll at the college.

"It is our plan to make this college a center of excellence when it comes to technical education in Liberia, we will look for the best species to teach here," he maintained.

Dr. Flomo also said he has embarked on the process of forging ties with other universities in the United States to widen technical support to the college.

He indicated that the interim team has initiated stakeholders' consultations in the county to draw the inputs of other professionals on how best the college can be managed.

The construction of the long anticipated Bong Technical College in Gbarnga has being described as a major relief for hundreds of high graduates who had no means of acquiring affordable college education.

The establishment of the college will also serve an alternative to Cuttington University in the county which charges US$35 per credit, an amount many ordinary people cannot afford for their children's education.

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