Major boost for Ireland’s technological universities with new buildings

22 Dec 2022

TUS Athlone campus. Image: TUS

The new buildings around the country will cost about €250m, with many providing spaces for STEM education.

Six new higher education buildings will be constructed across multiple campuses in the eastern, southern and midlands regions of Ireland.

The construction plans were announced by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris, TD.

The buildings will be located at TU Dublin’s Tallaght and Blanchardstown campuses, Munster Technological University (MTU) campuses in Cork and Kerry, the Athlone campus of Technological University of the Shannon (TUS) and at the Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT) in Dún Laoghaire.

Harris said this is an important development in higher education. “The construction of these buildings on multiple campuses across the country will improve the educational experience for current and future generations of students,” he added.

This is the first bundle of buildings to be delivered in the Government’s Higher Education Public Private Partnership (PPP) programme, a contractual arrangement between the public and private sectors for the delivery of public infrastructure. The projects will cost a total of approximately €250m.

At MTU, a new STEM building and learning resource centre will be built. The STEM building will be based at MTU’s Kerry North campus and will be a split-level building of three storeys, comprising lecture theatres, classrooms, machinery workshops, halls and laboratory space.

Meanwhile, the learning resource centre located at MTU’s Bishopstown campus in Cork will provide additional capacity for its portfolio of business and STEM programmes. It will also provide extra spaces for hosting events and conferences.

‘Significant milestone’

MTU president Prof Maggie Cusack said she’s delighted to welcome the launch of the new buildings and that “the future is bright”.

“The delivery of these facilities will ensure that the campuses and physical facilities of MTU continue to develop, adapt and improve to facilitate the provision of a truly great, globally competitive university,” she said.

“This, in turn, will benefit the entire south-west region in terms of its economic growth, future sustainability and research, learning and employment opportunities for generations of students and staff.”

The TUS Athlone campus is also due to get a new STEM building, consisting of science labs as well as administration and ancillary space.

TUS’s Jimmy Browne said the new facility represents another important step forward.

“This significant investment in the development and modernisation of the Athlone campus will enable us to not only service the needs of students, current and future, but also to rise to meet the needs of industry across the rapidly evolving disciplines of life sciences, ICT and engineering.”

Meanwhile, TU Dublin’s Blanchardstown campus will get a new teaching building, which will consist of classrooms, learning resource space and administration space. At its Tallaght campus, there will be a new building for culinary arts, engineering and teaching.

TU Dublin president Prof David FitzPatrick said these mark a “significant milestone” for the technological university.

“These new developments will enhance the learning and working environment where our university community can explore, develop, expand their abilities and reach their full potential.”

IADT’s new building will focus on digital media, comprising computer laboratories, design laboratories, classroom spaces, the main campus restaurant and ancillary space.

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Jenny Darmody is the editor of Silicon Republic