University of The Bahamas President Dr. Rodney Smith yesterday indicated that the institution does not plan to reopen UB North’s campus at its current location after Hurricane Dorian ripped through Grand Bahama two weeks ago.
According to the university’s website, the 50-acre facility is located in East Grand Bahama and is a part of 220 acres granted to the school by the Grand Bahama Port Authority.
The campus was intended to “become an incubator for entrepreneurship and innovation, while bolstering the industrial and maritime industries on the island”.
The storm left thousands of residents on Grand Bahama and Abaco without basic necessities like electricity and shelter.
“My recommendation to the board of trustees, along with the Vice President Dr. Ian Strachan, is that we relocate the campus,” Dr. Smith said on the Guardian Radio 96.9 talk show “Z Live: Off the Record” with host Zhivargo Laing.
“The land out there is actually flood land. So, we know for a fact that historically the water would get up to about four feet. So, we actually raised the land to about six feet and put the foundation on top of the six feet, but we had no idea that we would experience the kind of surge that we had come in.”
The campus suffered severe flood damage, which washed out the ground floor of both buildings.
The intent, Smith said, is to move ahead and start the semester on September 30.
Classes will take place at the Teachers and Salaried Workers Co-Operative Credit Union, Bishop Michael Eldon High School, and a few local churches, Smith said.
“The faculty and staff there, along with the students, are determined to continue,” he said.
“They will be ready for their exams at the end of the semester.
“Our seniors will still be on track to graduate in May. So, we have been very proactive and we have acted quickly.”
Dr. Smith also announced that students on the affected campus will be refunded tuition and fees.
Outstanding balances for students at the UB North campus will also be made null and void.
The university is also looking at the possibility of assisting students with a housing stipend this semester for those who would have lost their homes in the storm.
There are roughly 600 faculty, staff, and students at the UB North campus, with an enrollment of 537 this semester.
Eighty of those students moved to New Providence and were accommodated in classrooms at the Oakes Field campus with provided housing.