A long-delayed multi-million euro sports campus for Waterford Institute of Technology will be completed this year after the Government stepped in to loan the funds needed to finish the development.
WIT confirmed that a construction contract has been signed for completion of phase three of the Carriganore Sports Complex. Students attending WIT in September will be the first to use the facilities following the additional €5.2m investment.
The final cost of the third phase of the project is now due to come in at €13m, nearly €3m more than originally projected.
Last November, the former head of a company tasked with delivering the facility issued a report blaming “inadequate leadership” at WIT for the delay of the project.
Eugene McKenna, former chief executive of WIT Diverse Campus Services, told the Oireachtas’ Public Account Committee that WIT’s attempts to consolidate the incorporated company as a subsidiary of the college led to the deferral of work.
Mr McKenna had predicted that the delays would cause phase three to run some €4m over budget.
WIT yesterday said that the original plans estimated a total cost of €10.42m. Construction was suspended in January 2013, with just 60% of works completed, at which time WIT paid the then-developer of the project to cover both works done and agreed penalties, with the total costs coming to €7.89m.
Now a further €5.2m has been provided to complete the works. Over €16.3m has already been spent to date on phases one and two of the complex, and the partial build of phase three.
Tom O’Brien Construction has been awarded the contract to compete the arena, which will include a 2,000 sq m hall which can be used as three sports courts, a venue for 900 exam seats, a 2,000 delegate seated conference or a 1,000 guest seated banquet.
Speaking at the contract signing, president of WIT, Professor Willie Donnelly, thanked Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan for the government’s assistance in funding the project. The funding provided is due to be repaid in full by the institute.
“The Carriganore facility, when open, will provide WIT students with sports facilities to match the best in Europe. We are also committed to providing access to these resources to local clubs, societies and schools,” Prof Donnelly said.
Other facilities at the centre include four fully floodlit sand-based grass pitches, a floodlit 3G all-weather pitch, an external training area and eight dressing rooms .
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