Construction is to recommence on a major new state of the art student centre at University of Limerick.
The project to construct the landmark building in a strategic location at the campus gateway is back up and running following a retender process and is due for completion in mid-2024.
Monami Construction has been appointed to complete the new UL Student Centre contract. Site set up and mobilisation began in late February with the contract commencing this coming Monday, March 20.
The new UL Student Centre, a 3,529 square metre building set four storeys over basement, is located in a prime front of house location adjacent to the Stables Complex and the Glucksman Library.
The facility is being funded on a partnership basis between the students and the University. The students voted in 2016 by way of referendum to fund almost 80% of the capital cost through a development levy. The €34m project is due to be completed in 14 months.
The student centre forms part a raft of new campus facilities that also include the 22-acre Maguire’s Field pitches and the climbing wall at the UL Arena, which have already been completed.
The existing student centre, located in the Stables Courtyard, dates to 1999 when the student population was half what it is now. There has also been a huge growth in the number of student clubs and societies, with membership likewise increasing.
The new student centre will be the hub of student activity for all students and the project’s recommencement was welcomed by UL President Professor Kerstin Mey.
“The delivery of these student focused projects demonstrates UL’s commitment to providing top class facilities that will enhance the student experience,” said Professor Mey.
“UL has the highest ranking of all Irish third level institutions for student experience and the new student centre will further enhance the fantastic on campus offering that UL is renowned for. Our sporting facilities are already second to none and this much anticipated new student centre will support the student journey through UL and will be a space where they can relax and be supported.
“It will add significant value to the student experience, greatly enhancing the campus for future generations. I commend the students who had the foresight in 2016 to support the plans via a levy to redevelop Maguires Pitches and to build this new student centre and the climbing wall. It will truly leave a lasting legacy for all future students who come to UL.”
Maeve Rutledge, UL Student Life President, said: “Carrying on the great work of our previous officer teams, it was so important to us to get this project over the line this year. This new student centre is vital for our wider student body, and we have worked hard to ensure there were no more delays despite inflation and rising costs.
“We fought hard to secure a new tender and a reduction in the levy for current students and I am delighted to say we can finally deliver on what will be a world class student centre.
“I am so proud to be part of this historic moment for UL students and excited to see work on the site finally recommencing. I am grateful for the collaboration between UL and UL Student Life to ensure the final piece of the ‘Leave a Legacy’ campaign has been pushed over the line and we are so looking forward to seeing a brand-new student facility on campus in 14 months’ time,” Ms Rutledge added.
A detailed design brief for the building was developed following extensive consultation with clubs and societies, student class representatives and students’ union representatives.
As articulated by the students, ‘The Centre for Student Life’ will support the student life journey in UL and will be a space where students can relax, chill, party, play, be informed, be advised, supported, network and live life.
The location of the student centre was carefully considered, while several universities with notable student centres were used as benchmarks to refine the development of a detailed brief for the design team.
The student centre will be centrally located along one of the primary pedestrian routes into the University, making it a key focal point with a hive of student activity.
It will boast a landscaped roof garden on the first floor and new performance and event spaces, including a 230-seat capacity auditorium with retractable seating.
Martin Ryan, General Manager of UL Student Life, said: “In 2016 students voted in their thousands to give a resounding yes to leave a legacy of facilities on campus for the future students of UL. I am happy to say we are getting close to the finish line and the students of UL will have the final piece of the project when we open the doors in the summer of 2024 to a state-of-the-art building, unrivalled in Ireland.”
Paul Lee, Head of Student Engagement at UL Student Life, explained: “This will be a complete game changer for the students’ university experience. Whether it’s a non-academic meeting space for students, going live on air in our Media Suite or simply socialising over coffee, students can use this space to chill out and meet friends, be entertained, have fun in the games room, embrace student governance or enjoy the many dedicated spaces to empower our Clubs and Societies in bespoke facilities.”