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City unveils ambitious schools expansion plan

BY SILAS NKALA

Bulawayo City Council wants to expand schools and health institutions in the southern central areas to cater for increased demand in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Wisdom Siziba, deputy director of engineering services, in a summary of issues emerging from the Local Development Plan for the southern central areas of the city, said to cater for increased enrolment and overcrowding in the study area, they proposed that schools adopt vertical expansion of the existing infrastructure.

The southern central area of the city has eight primary schools and six secondary schools and one tertiary facility (Hillside Teachers’ College).

“All designs must be child, disability and gender-sensitive to provide safe and inclusive learning environments; however, the maximum building height should not exceed three floors,” Siziba said.

“To cater for classroom shortfalls, schools must utilise vast amounts of land at their discretion to have infrastructure that absorbs the demand.”

He said the two sites in Montrose, one being a primary and the other a secondary school, should be zoned institutional for educational purposes.

Siziba said the government must prioritise these schools in terms of human and financial resources.

“It is proposed that the existing clinic and the three hospitals be zoned institutional for health purposes,” he said.

“Services must be expanded in all health facilities to cater for increased demand due to expected population increase in the urban areas.”

“It is proposed that a portion of the vacant land along Sulgrave Avenue bounded by Bralles Road and Welford Road be zoned institutional to accommodate an additional clinic in the study area.

“It is proposed that the two post offices in the study area be retained and zoned institutional for postal services.

“These should be adequately maintained and upgraded to cater for modern-day needs.”

The city deputy engineer said there was need for the infusion of new technologies to re-shape and transform the postal services sector.

He proposed that the post office site at Barham Green shopping centre be developed to suit contemporary standards and serve residents of Barham Green, Southwold and Montrose.

On police services, Siziba said Hillside Police Station must be retained and zoned l for policing activities.

“It is proposed that a portion of the vacant land along Sulgrave Avenue bounded by Bralles Road and Welford Road be zoned institutional to accommodate a police post to serve Southwold, Montrose, Barham Green, Green Hill and Hillcrest,” Siziba noted.

“Given the high prevalence of theft in the study area, it is proposed that there be intensified police presence.

“Foot, cycle and vehicle patrols should be encouraged/intensified as it has been proven that when the level of police presence increases, crime goes down significantly.

“As we search for a long-term solution, it is proposed that police services be accommodated in public buildings like hospitals and Hillside Teachers’ College.”

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