Monday, September 03 12:02:49
Limerick Institute of Technology has today announced a significant stimulus for the region's economy with the unveiling of its E200m plus 'Campus 2030 Masterplan'.
The Masterplan, launched today by Minister Jan O'Sullivan at LIT's Limerick School of Art and Design (LSAD) city centre campus at Clare Street, Limerick, is in response to unprecedented growth across LIT discipline areas such as Art and Design, Engineering and Humanities.
It also reflects the expansion in LIT's Enterprise CentreS and the applied research capabilities, which were not part of the original masterplans when the campuses were developed during the late 1990s.
The investment will see an additional 50,000sq metres of facilities of new facilities as well as extensive refurbishment of existing facilities.
It will be invested across LIT's four existing campuses - its Moylish Park headquarters; LSAD (Clare Street, Limerick); its LIT Tipperary campus in Thurles and Clonmel - as well as a brand new 7,000sq metre new campus at Coonagh, Limerick.
The three Limerick campuses will be renamed after the ancient kingdoms of Munster - Desmond (City Centre), Thomond (Moylish) and Ormond (Coonagh) - where LIT draws the vast majority of its students.
The plan will amount to the most significant expenditure by a third level institute outside of Dublin over the coming decades, with the overall investment set to be a key element of the city's reinvigoration. The E20m Phase One of the programme will commence next year and comprise the development of the new Irish Fashion Incubator enterprise centre; the reinvention of an existing 7,000 sq building as the centrepiece of the new Ormond campus which will create a new gateway to the Lit facilities as well as to the city; major refurbishment of existing campuses and development of sports facility infrastructure on multiple sites.Many of these facilities will be developed in conjunction with partners.
Other key elements of the project to follow will include LIT's first student villages for the Ormond and Desmond campuses , as well as an integrated 'DOT' (for Desmond, Ormond, Thomond) transport system. Other aspects will include the development of new civic spaces on all campuses including thomond plaza adjacent to Thomond Park, which will link to the existing Moylish Campus with the famous rugby venue, and at O'Brien Park, Clare Street, which will be linked to LSAD.
The highly ambitious programme is in response to the current capacity challenges at LIT as well as an anticipated 30pc increase in LIT student numbers, to 9,000, over the period of the plan. In comparison to both national and international standards, LIT is currently under-resourced in terms of infrastructural capacity at the moment when compared to national and international norms. This investment will ensure that LIT staff, students and the wider community will have improved facilities. The facilities will build on the strong academic reputation and the proven track record of enterprise support of LIT which aleeady has three enterprise centres on its campuses providing employment and research opportunities for its graduates and local start up and established businesses.
Said LIT President Dr Maria Hinfelaar: "This is not just a milestone moment for our Institute but our city and region as we truly believe that this will be a catalyst in the transformation of Limerick and the wider region."
"It's a milestone for us as we are embarking on an unprecedented level of expansion. It will bring LIT to a new level, by not just dealing with existing capacity issues but facilitating increased demand for places on our undergraduate and post-graduate courses. A good example of the current demand for places at LIT is our School of Art and Design, which is ranked in the top 50 such colleges in the world but has 900 CAO applications for just 200 places each year."