Last year, Ida Odinga and other leaders laid the groundwork for a state-of-the-art library, research and innovation center at Ogande Girls High School in Homa Bay Sub-County as part of an effort to improve the reading culture in Nyanza.
The project, dubbed the Dr Ida Odinga Library, Center for Research, Innovation and Resources, which is undertaken at 300 million shillings, is intended to provide a conducive environment where students can build their futures.
During the groundbreaking ceremony, attended by Home Secretary Fred Matiang’i and his education counterpart Professor George Magoha, among other leaders in December, Dr Ida described the center to come as one of the biggest innovations the country has devised in recent times. .
She said, among other things, that the center, which will be her legacy project in southern Nyanza, should empower young people and open more employment opportunities for unemployed youth.
The progress of the project however comes up against an obstacle which could see its construction delayed and its cost soar.
A major power line prevents construction workers from building a section of the center, which is almost the level where the lines are located.
Homa Bay Town MP Peter Kaluma, whose office plays a central role in ensuring the success of the project, inspected the ongoing work at the site.
He said information about the blockage caused by the power line had been brought to his attention and the contractor said he might have difficulty installing the structure in a corner unless the power cables are moved. .
According to Kenya Power, the cables are a two-way power line that serves the main towns of Kisii and Homa Bay.
It supplies, among others, Asumbi, Rangwe and Suneka.
Edge of electric cables
“The electric cables run directly over the project where the construction workers are located. They risk their lives if they continue to build pillars, which have reached the edge of the electric cables,” Kaluma said.
Ken Okumbe, electricity director for Homa Bay County in Kenya, said the contractor informed the utility company of the obstacle.
He said the company sent the construction company a quote on the amount of money needed to move the line to a different area.
“Anyone who wants the power lines to be relocated should bear the cost of the work. We have already informed the contactor of the amount needed. He has not yet responded,” Okumbe said.
Mr Kaluma’s main concern is that delays in completing the project will increase the cost of construction as the price of materials continues to rise.
He argued that the contractor can charge for the suspension of the work because he asked the Department of Energy to work on the challenges.
When the construction period ends by the middle of next year, more than 1,000 students from Ogande Girls and other schools will be able to sit and study in the iconic eye-shaped library.
It will also contain an ICT hub, a recording studio and a conference room which will benefit from the support of the Kenya Film Classification Board and the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation.
Its 1,000-seat auditorium will host national and international events.
“We lack facilities where presidential functions can be held. That is why the president never visited Homa Bay County. With this project, we expect the president and other dignitaries to make frequent visits to our county, which would be good for our economy. Mr. Kaluma said.
The cost of land around Ogande has already skyrocketed as private developers seek space to build restaurants and accommodation.
Mr Kaluma said that many investors saw the potential of the facility and decided to take advantage of it to invest in different business activities.
However, he advised families around the library to be wise when selling their land.
“We have seen a lot of people who are not from this region buy plots of land to invest in businesses. I would advise families to use the project to start their own business instead of selling their land,” said Mr. Kaluma.