€400 million 'Campus of the Future' plans unveiled at NUI Galway
Monday, 4 December 2006
Commenting on the plan, President of NUI Galway, Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, who unveiled the 'Campus of the Future' exhibition today, said: "This ambitious development plan responds not only to a growth of 40% in student numbers over the last six years but also to our role in supporting indigenous, high-value industries in Ireland. Already, we are home to the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science and the Digital Enterprise Research Institute, which are world-class facilities. We also have the Moore Institute which is undertaking pioneering research in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Our plans will build on this success and take every facet of the University to the highest class in terms of services, facilities and research, making us comparable to the best internationally."
The €400 million investment package will be financed by University resources and a combination of government and private philanthropic funding. Flagship projects will include a new Sports Centre; a Cultural Centre; a state of the art Engineering building; a Human Biology building and an expansion of the Clinical Sciences Institute; and a Law School which will be linked to jury rooms and a court room to be developed by the courts as part of a pioneering strategic collaboration.
Work on some of the new infrastructure projects has already begun with plans for further development to commence on other buildings next year. The 'Campus of the Future' programme commits to enhancing the University's physical infrastructure, while at the same time preserving and nurturing all that is excellent in the current campus. Development will harmonise the natural and built environments, preserving – and where possible adding to – existing walkways and open spaces. The aim is to create a riverside amenity which will be of enormous benefit not only to students and staff, but also to the broader community of the city and region.
Dr Ó Muircheartaigh continued: "In charting the future direction for NUI Galway, we have set out a vision in which the continual enhancement of 'the student experience' is enshrined as a core principle. Students are at the very heart of what the University is about and these planned developments are designed to further that ethos. Although the campus is currently home to 15,000 students, the atmosphere remains one of friendliness, inclusion and acceptance of diversity. With the support of students, staff, alumni and the local community, we aim to retain all that is unique and wonderful about our campus and embrace the future with confidence."
Commenting on the impact of investment of this scale on Galway City, Dr Ó Muircheartaigh said: "The plans reflect the importance of a strong university to the region as a whole and NUI Galway is central to ongoing development as our high quality students attract and retain national and multi-national investment. This programme is great news for Galway City. Dramatic changes are underway and we will be consulting and including the public on individual projects at every appropriate stage."
Highlights of the proposed developments fall into two broad categories of student facilities and teaching facilities:
Services and Facilities
- A €21 million 6,500sqm Sports Centre Complex which will include a 25m swimming pool, gym, weights room, handball and squash courts, climbing wall, sports hall with three basketball courts, an aerobics/dance studio and multi-purpose activity spaces.
- The Cultural Centre which will consist of a multipurpose hall, a dance studio, a rehearsal and performance space, recording facilities, an exhibition room, a photographic studio and a new space for the University's Flirt FM Radio Station.
- Major improvements in infrastructure and mobility management including the building of a new entrance on Newcastle Road, internal roads and services, parking and transport initiatives, and a new crèche.
Teaching and Research
- The development of a 14,000sqm Engineering Building which will house the University's five Engineering Departments in one location. The building is scheduled to open in 2009 and will be the largest single capital project undertaken in the University's history, at a cost in excess of €50 million.
- A new Human Biology Building, which will incorporate the Pharmacology & Therapeutics, Anatomy and Physiology Departments. In a central location, it will build on the established relationship between NUI Galway and UCHG Hospital allowing further collaborative research projects.
- Given the envisaged increases in the number of medical places required at NUI Galway, there is a proposal to increase significantly the size of the existing Clinical Sciences Institute to provide sufficient teaching, laboratory, library and staff accommodation space.
- The Law School will have 8,000sqm of accommodation and will be a pioneering strategic collaboration with the courts. It is intended to include lecture theatres, law libraries, jury rooms and a court room in the overall complex.
- The development of a 5,000sqm building for Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, consisting of a mix of offices, language laboratories, seminar rooms, lecture halls, libraries, Irish language archives, recording facilities and general exhibition space.
The 'Campus of the Future' exhibition is open to members of the general public, as well as staff and students, at the Orbsen Building in NUI Galway, 10am-4pm, Mon-Fri, until 15 December. Thorough local consultation will take place on a project by project basis. Information is also available at http://www.nuigalway.ie/campusofthefuture/