A new €14m engineering- focused campus is to be opened by Limerick Institute of Technology in a year’s time.
The college has just been granted planning permission by An Bord Pleanála for its plans to convert an undeveloped shopping centre, retail and entertainment park at Coonagh Cross on the city’s northside.
It has been unoccupied except for a Tesco supermarket which operates on part of the eight-acre site, and LIT applied for a change of use to the development early last year.
Limerick City and County Council approved the proposal before Christmas and the board has now also granted permission after considering an appeal by An Taisce.
Around 800 students and almost 100 staff are expected to be based at the new campus by 2020, but work will begin soon on conversion work to the existing facilities that would see 10,000sq m of floor space devoted to education and training use.
The proposed works will include moving elements of the college’s mechanical and automobile engineering faculty from the nearby main campus at Moylish, as well as capacity to accommodate enterprise and innovation sues.
LIT president Prof Vincent Cunnane said the Coonagh campus will provide the research and educational infrastructure essential to strengthening the region’s recent economic growth.
“This project represents another step in the re-imagining of the northside of Limerick city. It helps to shift the gravity on this side of the city,” he said.
“This is the first major piece of infrastructure on the Northern Distributor Road, now becoming Limerick’s Knowledge Corridor.”
He said the favourable planning decision gives LIT the certainty needed to provide exemplary state-of-the-art education and research space for students, staff and industry in the region.
LIT was this week allocated almost €580,000 in capital funding for new equipment and enabling works for a new syllabus for electrical apprentices, one of 10 institutes of technology receiving almost €8m for new programmes in four existing apprenticeships.
The Department of Education is providing a further €315,500 to Cork Institute of Technology for equipment and works for a new apprenticeship in pipefitting.
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