Impending Demolition Of International Building To Make Way For Modern UB North Campus

Aerial shot of Kipling Complex in Freeport, Grand Bahama that is being transformed into the future UB North campus. The four-storey International Building is scheduled to be demolished.
- Advertisement -

University of The Bahamas (UB) is taking a pivotal step towards the creation of a new state-of-the-art UB North campus in Freeport, Grand Bahama as it prepares for the demolition of the International Building at the Kipling Complex.

Aerial shot of Kipling Complex in Freeport, Grand Bahama that is being transformed into the future UB North campus. The four-storey International Building is scheduled to be demolished.

The International Building is one of five buildings at the complex, which UB acquired in the summer of 2023. The aim is to transform the location into a vibrant university campus that will serve the needs of students, faculty and staff, regenerate economic growth in downtown Freeport, and rejuvenate the communities that surround it.

The need is especially pressing since Hurricane Dorian severely damaged the UB North campus in East Grand Bahama in 2019, leaving students, faculty, and staff operating out of temporary locations at the Bishop Michael Eldon School and the Teachers and Salaried Workers Cooperative Credit Union Building.

“We haven’t had a location of our own where we could host events, have day classes, or build the sort of energy that one expects on a college campus,” said UB North Campus President Dr. Ian Strachan. “A lack of a central place of our own has made it difficult to provide our students with the full range of support services and facilities. Our community is eager to move to this new site and we welcome this demolition as it signals the beginning of our transition.”

The four-storey, 35,000 square foot International Building is the largest of five buildings at the Kipling complex. Though the building has served as the headquarters for quite a number of key operations over the years, it has descended into disrepair. It will be razed, soon, to make way for a new structure and spark new growth opportunities.

“The demolition of this building isn’t just about clearing space,” said President (Acting) of UB Janyne Hodder. “It’s about making room for dreams to flourish and communities to thrive. Our students, faculty and staff will have a permanent place to call home; to learn, grow and build not only UB North, but also the community of Freeport, the country and beyond. What a crucial step to be taking as UB embarks on a new era of growth after a wonderful 50-year legacy.”

At the Kipling Complex, the remaining four two-storey buildings, totalling over 50,000 square feet, will be renovated into modern classrooms, science labs, a library, student support centres and faculty and staff offices.

“The International Building holds some significance in the history of the city of Freeport. So many institutions, both public and private, have passed through the Kipling Building and we’re cognizant of that,” added Dr. Strachan. “What we are also aware of is that what the city of Freeport needs is renewal, new energy and new investment and to turn a leaf and start a new chapter. We believe that’s what this will symbolise for Grand Bahamians.”

The full-fledged operation of UB North in the city of Freeport is expected to increase student enrollment and encourage the growth of a college town around it. An increase in investments is anticipated as a natural off-shoot of the new campus.

“Going to college is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, something to treasure.  To create that experience, we need to provide our students with high quality instruction, a vibrant campus life, opportunities for making friends and discovering new talents, and a strong sense of community.  Here, at UB North, we already have a strong sense of community, as witnessed by the extraordinary efforts our faculty, students and staff have made over the past few years, working together under less-than-ideal conditions.  We now have the opportunity to build together a new campus that provides our students, our faculty and staff with the highest possible quality of college experience,” he said.

The demolition of the International Building is a crucial first step in what is envisioned as a phased transformation that will bring about new life and hope for Grand Bahama and the northern islands.

- Advertisement -