The University of Mumbai will soon have infrastructure to match the best varsities in the world.
Mortar is already being set on the Kalina campus for an Olympic-sized swimming pool like Harvard University's, grass courts and mini tennis courts like Oxford's and a 400-metre athletic track like the University of California, Berkeley.
The projects are likely to cost about Rs 6 crore. With this, the university has started utilising the Rs 216 crore Central funds it got this year to mark its 150th year.
There are a number of projects -- campus radio, a health centre and library makeover -- that the university has got moving with its own money as well.
In just two years, it expects to reach international standards and offer world- class sports facilities.
"These are essentials for a university which aspires for global recognition. Along with academic growth, we are concen- trating on facilities. Once we have the best facilities, we can start academic pro- grammes related to sports," said Vice Chancellor Vijay Khole.
In January, the Kalina campus will get a taste of an international tournament as well. The All India Tennis Association - it is also creating the Rs 75 crore Tennis Centre for Excellence (TCE) on the cam pus -- is organising an international women's tennis tournament with $25,000 as prize money. So workers are rushing to meet a mid-January deadline to get the four tennis courts on a synthetic turf ready.
"Land is being filled in to begin work on the tennis centre that will be spread across seven acres. Work on the pool and the sports complex has begun and these should be ready by April," said Venkatesh Kumar, member secretary of the coordination committee for the 150-year celebration.
At a time when there are apprehensions about the onset of foreign universities, academicians are appreciating the university's attempt to match international standards and retain students.
"But there must be focus on academics, too. If there are enough funds for academics, research and sports, providing world-class facilities should be hailed," said educationist Richard Heredia.