The largest capital project to be undertaken to date at National University of Ireland Galway will commence immediately as a result of the Government's €1 billion investment programme for third-level institutions, announced yesterday (Sunday).
It is expected that NUI Galway's new €60 million School of Engineering will be allocated at least the full €25 million earmarked for the project in the Kelly Report prepared for the Government on necessary infrastructural funding of the third-level sector. Additional significant funding has been contributed by private donors, while the balance will be covered from the University's own resources.
NUI Galway's new School of Engineering, with an area of c. 14,000 square metres, will bring the University's five Departments of Civil, Electronic, Industrial, Engineering Hydrology and Mechanical & Biomedical Engineering, under the one roof in a state-of-the-art building, to be located on the north campus, adjacent to the new €16 million JE Cairnes Graduate School of Business & Public Policy, launched just last week.
Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI Galway said: "This project is critically important for the economic and social development of the entire Western Region, and we welcome the recognition by the Government, in this decision, of the central role of the University in underpinning future development. This is a major milestone for NUI Galway and one of the key capital projects of our Strategic Plan (2005-2008). At a sectoral level, we also welcome the Government's recently announced investment programme for the third-level sector, which demonstrates an understanding and commitment to supporting the sector and its role in the creation and development of Ireland's knowledge-based economy."
Almost 1,500 students are currently studying Engineering at NUI Galway, with demand for places in all disciplines remaining consistently high. Professor Pádraic O'Donoghue, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, said: "Engineers have been among the key drivers of the success of Ireland's economy. It is important that those who are at the cutting edge of technological developments and who design and implement major infrastructural projects, are trained to the highest standards with the best possible facilities. NUI Galway has a long and distinguished tradition of quality and excellence across all its Engineering disciplines and the new School of Engineering will underpin the professional education we provide."
NUI Galway has engaged renowned architects RMJM to design the new School of Engineering. RMJM designed the award-winning Scottish Parliament Building in Edinburgh, the Chemistry Research Building at the University of Oxford and the Olympic Green Convention Centre for Beijing 2008. For the NUI Galway project, they will partner Taylor Architects from Castlebar, Co. Mayo.
The School of Engineering will provide undergraduate and postgraduate student accommodation including engineering laboratories, project rooms, research facilities, workshops, computer suites, lecture theatres and classrooms, faculty office accommodation and departmental staff accommodation.