€6.6m investment under Project Ireland 2040 for Extension to IT Sligo Campus
The Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D. and the Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D. today announced almost €6.6 million is to be invested by the Government in major building extension at IT Sligo Campus.
As part of ongoing investment in the sector through Project Ireland 2040, the funding has been approved in principle to help support additional new places for students at IT Sligo in line with the Institutes ambitious plans to increase student numbers to 10,000 by 2022 as laid out in its Strategic Plan. The announcement significantly boosts the Institutes plans to become a Technological University in partnership with GMIT and LYIT next year.
The project will include a complete rebuild of J Block with an investment of €18.58 million, turning the single floor 1970’s building into a modern four storey complex that will enhance the modern state-of-the-art campus which has seen significant development over recent years.
President of IT Sligo, Dr Brendan McCormack welcomed the announcement today:
“IT Sligo would like to sincerely thank the Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D. and the Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D for their announcement today. This announcement is a huge boost to the region and local economy. The funding will facilitate a significant upgrade of the last remaining section of the old campus building which has been there since the 1970’s. A large section of this block houses our online educational facilities and with the upgrade and extension of this building will enable us to further develop and enhance our research and online courses which has seen dramatic growth in recent years. I would like to congratulate all our colleagues for their support in this application as this is a reflection of the high esteem this institute is held within the Government and the HEA.
The Institute will be celebrating its 50th anniversary next year and this development will help us to deliver the highest level of education as we head towards Technological University status in 2020.”
The successful project has been backed through the Higher Education Strategic Infrastructure Fund (HESIF) and is one of five major building projects in third level colleges in Ireland to receive funding.
Minister McHugh said the award of such significant levels of funding would significantly enhance the capacity of the sector in advancing Ireland’s national and regional ambitions.
“This will have a major positive impact on the sector’s ability to cater for significant increases in enrolments over the coming decade. We are planning and investing for the future and with that we are driving choice and increasing options for students around the country.
“Ambition is at the heart of these plans. These projects and new buildings will have an important regional and national impact but they will also enhance the competitiveness of Ireland’s higher education system on the international stage.”
Minister McHugh noted that a key objective of the Higher Education Strategic Infrastructure Fund was to encourage non-Exchequer investment in the sector, with the five projects in this round also expected to leverage more than €400m in non-Exchequer co-funding.
Minister McHugh added: “I am particularly pleased at the projected level of non-Exchequer investment alongside the Government investment. This collaborative approach is very much in the spirit of Project Ireland 2040, which recognises the importance of private finance in the delivery of infrastructure in the sector.”
Minister Mitchell O’Connor said: “Today’s significant announcement complements other capital investments in the sector, including the Higher Education Public Private Partnership (PPP) Programme and the development of the TU Dublin City Campus at Grangegorman.
“The projects that have been approved in principle for funding will significantly advance the objectives of Project Ireland 2040, including in underpinning the talent pipeline that is essential to Ireland’s growth as an economy and society, and in supporting regional objectives. The buildings themselves will be highly innovative and sustainable, future-proofed to support the most up-to-date approaches to teaching and learning, and designed to facilitate the multi-disciplinary engagement that is so critical to tackling the challenges of today and of the future.”
The projects will be subject to ongoing economic and financial appraisal, and a further approval will be required by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) before a project proceeds to tender.