GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 24 Jan) – The University of Santos Tomas (UST) will start next month the full development of its expansion campus here in preparation for the projected opening in 2020.
Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, UST rector, said preparations are underway for the start of the construction works for the 79.93-hectare university campus in Barangays Ligaya and Katangawan.
“We will start our development as early as second or third week of February,” he told reporters.
He said the initial preparatory phase at the site already started last year “but now it will be a full blast development program.”
UST completed last year the requirements for the development of the campus site and secured the local government’s approval for the location and clearance for its road networks and drainage canal.
The initial works were implemented by geodetic engineers from UST and its contracted firm, DCCD Engineering Corp.
Citing its development plan, Dagohoy said they are targeting to start the actual construction of the buildings and other facilities “towards the end of the year.”
These include the university’s main administration building, chapel, gymnasium, faculty’s residence and school buildings.
Dagohoy said most of these structures are due for completion in two years or by 2020, which is the projected start of the university’s operations.
“Initially, we are planning to offer programs on information and computing sciences, business management and some basic programs in the sciences,” he said.
Dagohoy said the university would later open graduate school programs to “help the region in terms of human capacity undertakings.”
Mayor Ronnel Rivera reiterated the local government’s full support to the development of the UST campus, which will be the university’s first in Mindanao.
The Regional Development Council of Region 12, which he heads, had also endorsed the project.
The mayor said that based on his discussions with UST officials, investments for the development of the university campus could reach around P6 billion.
“This will definitely bring tremendous impact to the city economy-wise since it is a big school that is very famous,” he added.
UST initially acquired the proposed university site for P96 million in 1997 but its development was marred by land classification problems.
It 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)