The construction of the Mid West’s first engineering-focused higher education campus is underway at the LIT site in Coonagh, Limerick. Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton confirmed today, Friday, (September 14, 2018) that funding of just over €11.6 million has been provided to deliver phase one of the project.
The first phase of construction has already begun on the brownfield site on the north side of the city and comprises the full fit out of more than 5,000 square metres of previously unused space with state of the art teaching, learning and research facilities. This will provide for an additional 542 places on LIT’s engineering courses, an expansion which is considered essential to support industry demand in the region. The new building will welcome its first students in September 2019.
This work at Coonagh marks the beginning of a €150 million planned physical development investment across LIT’s six campuses – Moylish, Limerick; Clare Street, Limerick; Thurles, Tipperary; Clonmel, Tipperary; Ennis, Clare and the new campus at Coonagh.
The campus at Coonagh, will have the flexibility to respond to industry needs in a timely, flexible and cost effective manner, while providing the latest educational facilities and technologies for students.
Designed to provide agility of use, the campus will go beyond what is traditionally expected from an educational institution. It will provide facilities that encourage education and research to co-exist, facilitate industry leaders to meet and share ideas, and allow companies to use the various diverse spaces for training courses and seminars.
The building will provide for the education and practical training of industry ready personnel through its undergraduate and post graduate courses, flexible training, traditional and new apprenticeships including the much acclaimed degree apprenticeships.
While focusing primarily on engineering, the campus will also provide student centred amenities and resources that will benefit all LIT students.
LIT President, Professor Vincent Cunnane described the new campus as a critical piece of infrastructure not just for LIT but for Limerick and the Mid West region.
“The Coonagh campus will be the first major piece of infrastructure on the Northern Distributor Road, essentially the start of Limerick’s “Knowledge Corridor” – a piece of infrastructure that will play a major role in helping to sustain the economic development of the Mid-West into the future.”
“At LIT we are working closely with local industry to ensure Coonagh will also be the first port of call for business leaders and companies seeking out graduates with specific skill sets, up-skilling employees, and assisting with research that will ensure this region remains at the forefront of mechanical and electrical engineering development for decades to come.
“Ultimately LIT’s campus at Coonagh will provide the research and educational support to the industry that much of the region’s economic growth is predicated on, while strengthening LIT’s role as an economic generator at the heart of Ireland’s fastest-growing regional economy,” said Prof Cunnane.
“The development of this new campus is a community effort led by staff and local stakeholders, and would not have been possible without their input and the support of the HEA (Higher Education Authority) and Department of Education.
“I would also like to acknowledge the work of our local Oireachtas representatives and previous local ministers on getting this substantial project to this stage. It is important too to recognise Minister for Education, Richard Bruton for his continued interest and support, and the commitment of Minister for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor,” he added.
“The campus at Coonagh will provide exemplary state of the art education and research space and I am looking forward to its doors opening in time for the next academic year.”