8,000 Additional Places For Students To Be Created As Higher Education Building Projects Move Forward

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Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD has announced the achievement of a key milestone on a programme to deliver 11 new higher education buildings, which will facilitate some 8,000 additional places for students enrolments.

The tender for the first bundle under this Public Private Partnership (PPP) Programme will proceed to tender immediately and will include six projects in the eastern and southern regions and in the midlands.

Projects are located in the TU Dublin Tallaght and Blanchardstown campuses; in CIT and IT Tralee, which will merge to create the new Munster Technological University in January 2021; in the Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dún Laoghaire; and in Athlone Institute of Technology.

The projects are being delivered under Project Ireland 2040, which recognises that investment in education is central to achieving a strong, future-proofed economy, balanced across the regions, and a just society in which all citizens are enabled to fulfill their potential.

Minister Harris said:

“This is a key milestone in what is a very ambitious programme of investment in the higher education sector. Such investment has never been more important. The higher education sector, and within that our new Technological Universities and our Institutes of Technology, have an essential role to play in driving recovery across Ireland’s regions and in preparing for the opportunities and challenges of a changing economy.

“The new infrastructure to be delivered under this Programme will enhance the campus environment for students and staff, and support strengthened partnerships with industry. The buildings will have a strong focus on supporting practice-based learning, including laboratories, workshops and studios. They will also have significant flexibility to adapt to changing teaching and learning needs, and to support hybrid and remote learning.”

The second bundle of five projects includes investments in the south-east, west and in the north-west, and is expected to go to tender in Q1 2021. The projects are located in WIT and IT Carlow, which are part of the consortium seeking to establish a Technological University for the South East; in GMIT and Letterkenny IT, which are part of the Connacht Ulster Alliance; and in Limerick IT which has formed a consortium with Athlone IT.

The bundles will be procured by the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA) on behalf of the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science as Approving Authority. The Higher Education Authority is the Sponsoring Agency for the Programme.

As with other PPP projects in the education sector, the contract type envisaged is a Design, Build, Finance and Maintain (DBFM) contract. The successful tenderer for each of the bundles will construct the buildings using private finance, and will then operate and maintain the buildings over a period of 25 years. Payment by the department will be by way of monthly Unitary Charge payments over the 25 year operational period, which will start when construction has been completed.


Gemma is a nomadic writer, filmmaker, & journalist.
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