New York-based Africa Integras has signed a Sh5 billion deal with Kenyatta University (KU) to build a 10,000-capacity student hostel in Nairobi as the institution seeks to solve its student-housing problems.
The KU hostel project involves construction of a hostel complex on a 20-acre piece of land in the university’s Kahawa main campus to house 9,350 undergraduates and 500 post-graduate students, with 150 bed-sitters being primed for students with special needs.
The project will be undertaken on a build-operate-transfer model where an investor puts up a facility and collects rent for 15 to 20 years before handing the property back to the owners.
Under the deal that was signed on Friday, a consortium led by Africa Integras with local partners Triad Architects, EPCO contractors and Broll Kenya Facility Managers will construct and operate the hostel for 20 years to recoup their investment.
“This type of agreement is expected to ease the financial burden we would have had to go through, and will go a long way in decongesting the available bed spaces which is still a challenge for most universities,”KU vice chancellor Olive Mugenda said.
The hostel, which is expected to be completed in two years, is the first major infrastructural project since the public-private partnerships construction model was entrenched into law in 2013.
Local universities are grappling with a chronic shortage in accommodation for students due to the rising number of Kenyans seeking to pursue higher education.
KU, for example, now boasts an undergraduate population of 50,000 – a figure that is expected to hit over 70,000 in the next two years – with only 10,000 currently housed at 21 hostels.
To address housing problems, public universities and colleges are increasingly scouting for partners to build and operate hostels for their growing number of students.
Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology (JKUAT), Egerton, Maseno, Kenya School of Government and South Eastern Kenya University were last year cleared by the government to finance construction of their hostels through public-private partnerships.
Like the KU hostel complex, most of these projects will undertaken on a build-operate-transfer model.