BT Academy of Gita, supported by U.Va., opens


KAMPALA (18 August 2010)—Hundreds of parents, families, students and prominent local leaders joined in a seven-hour chorus of celebration commemorating the grand opening of the Building Tomorrow (BT) Academy of Gita supported by the University of Virginia (U.Va.). The Academy’s nearly 200 students headlined a song and dance marathon that lasted well in to the evening to show their appreciation and excitement for the opportunity to learn inside a permanent classroom.

“You have cleared the land, you have carried materials, you have filled jerry cans of water, you have planted kassava and you have made this site your own,” Building Tomorrow Uganda Director Joseph Kalisa said. “Your work has just begun, now it is time to support the students who will sit, study and prosper because of these classrooms.”

Area leaders and officials praised the commitment of parents and U. Va. for their outreach to the community.

“We are grateful for what has to be one of Waksio District’s best built primary schools,” headmaster M. Zizinga Ssemuyaga said. “We are excited for all that is to come here and hope that the parents of these children and local leaders will support us moving forward.”

The BT Academy of Gita is the result of Building Tomorrow’s first multidisciplinary collaboration on a college campus. Throughout the 2007-2008 school year, undergraduate architecture and engineering students in Architecture Studio reCOVER and the Engineering in Context Capstone Design Program crafted a design for a new ten-room school house, funded by the student chapter of BT at U.Va. and the School of Architecture. The Academy is the fifth opened by BT in Uganda with another five Academies slated to open in the next year.

“It is so awesome to see the Academy open and come to fruition,” U.Va. alum (’10) and former Vice President of Fundraising at the university’s BT chapter Liz Braden said. “To know that the University of Virginia community puts a roof over the heads of hundreds of students each day is nothing short of incredible.”

Over the last four years, more than 2,000 students and community members have participated in BT-sponsored events, including Bike to Uganda, a 7,500-mile bike ride on the Lawn held each Spring. Through these and other events, more than $50,000 has been raised in support of the BT Academy of Gita.

In March, the BT Academy of Gita was honored with the American Institute of Architects Education Honor Award and highlighted at the Spring 2010 meeting of the Association of Collegiate Architecture Schools.

Opening ceremonies at the BT Academy of Gita

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