A century-old school in Kisumu is set for demolition to pave way for the expansion of the lakeside city’s Central Business District.
Kisumu Boys High School, whose history dates back to the early 20th Century and the construction of the Kenya-Uganda Railway, will be moved to a less fashionable district as the county government moves to transform the CBD.
The city administration desperately needs the prime land for the construction of malls and commercial buildings.
According to the new plan backed by the county government, the city management and the Lake Front Development Corporation, Kisumu Girls, Manyatta Arabs School, the county referral hospital, the main bus terminus and the Jua Kali market will also be affected.
The acting Kisumu City Manager, Mr Abala Wanga, told nation.africa that the county government will set up an industrial park in Kibos, where the schools will be relocated. “We have set aside 105 acres of land. This will be one of the busiest industrial parks in Kibos, which will have schools, industries and other facilities,” he said.
The changes have started with a 12-month project dubbed “Transforming Kisumu City through enhanced urban aesthetics”, which has seven key focus areas and quick-win projects to improve the city’s economy and the services offered to the people.
The areas are improving the city’s drainage system, establishing an integrated solid waste management system, preserving the environment by ensuring there are green spaces within town and improving public health and sanitation.
Others are installation and maintenance of solar-powered street lights for a 24-hour economy and development of modern markets, including Kibuye, Chichwa, Otonglo and Jubilee markets.
The Kisumu County Referral Hospital will be merged with the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital.
Of all the changes, perhaps the demolition of Kisumu Boys will be the most painful as its history dates back to the construction of the Kenya-Uganda Railway, which was mostly done by Indians.
When it was completed, many Indians decided to stay in Kisumu and invest. With the growing population, there was a need for a school for their children and that is why in 1925, the colonial government built a primary facility.
In 1948, it became Indian High School when the primary classes were relocated. From 1948, it had both girls and boys, until 1961 when a separate girls’ school was built.
Initially, only Indian children were enrolled and no African was included in the board of management. This changed in 1966 when Africans were included in the management and enrolment of the same descent.
In 2020, the Principal, Mr Peter Obwogo, started the process of renaming the institution to ‘The Kisumu School’.
Kisumu Girls High School, which will also be moved, was built as an off-shoot of Kisumu Boys. Until 1977, Kisumu Girls had three streams, but because of its stellar performance and growth over the years, it currently has six.
It’s one of the national schools in Kisumu County and shares a wall with Kisumu Boys.