GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 21 Nov) – The University of Santos Tomas (UST) has started preparations for the initial development phase of its long delayed expansion campus here.
University officials represented by Fr. Dexter Austria, of its Office of the Vice Rector for Finance, has launched a series of consultations and public hearings for the first phase of the establishment of the planned 79.93-hectare university campus.
Austria said the public consultations are among the requirements for the development of the site in Barangays Ligaya and Katangawan, specifically the approval of the location and clearance for its road networks and drainage canal.
The initial development works would be spearheaded by geodetic engineers from UST and its contracted firm, DCCD Engineering Corp.
A statement released by the City Public Information Office said officials and residents of the two barangays covered by the project have expressed full support to the planned development works.
“This is the long hope of every constituent in Barangay Ligaya as we aim to become an urbanized area in the city. I hope that the engineers will materialize the design and concepts they have made,” said Barangay Ligaya chair Romy Pagaduan.
Mayor Ronnel Rivera had endorsed the development of the UST campus, which will be the university’s first in Mindanao.
He said the opening of the university would eventually help bring in more major investments and economic activities to the city.
UST initially acquired the proposed university site for P96 million in 1997 but its development was marred by land classification problems.
UST sought for the conversion of the site, which is classified as agricultural land, to institutional and received initial approval from the Department of Agrarian Reform in 2003.
DAR issued another order in 2008 “extending the development period of the site until 2013,” according to UST’s official publication, Varsitarian.
The city council intervened in 2013 by passing Ordinance No. 15 that revised the zoning classification of the university site from agricultural to institutional. (MindaNews)