Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin yesterday turned the sod on the project at Carriganore, on the outskirts of Waterford city.
The project is being funded by WIT campus services and will comprise of four playing pitches with a conference centre capable of seating 2,000 people.
The conference centre will double as a 1,000-student seat examination centre with ancillary sports and catering facilities.
The ceremony was also attended by president of the GAA, Christy Cooney, mayor of County Waterford, Liam Brazil, chairman of WIT, Dr Donal Ormonde, and acting president of WIT, Tony McFeely.
The facility complements the WIT sports arena built at a capital cost of €8.5m and is designed to integrate fully with the sports pavilion, changing facilities and outdoor pitches, which were finished last year.
Mr Howlin said he was very pleased to be present at the beginning of a project which has the potential to become a world-class venue and which will showcase hurling, Ireland’s “unique contribution” to the world of sport.
He said that the centre “can be an example of best practice for the rest of the country”.
Mr Brazil said: “Waterford County Council is fully supportive of this project and we will assist in its successful completion in every way possible.
“I wish the project every success and look forward to its completion,” he added.
Dr Ormonde said: “The completion of this facility will add to the reputation of WIT as the place to study for athletes of all disciplines and will represent a very valuable asset to the infrastructure of the institute.”
lA graphic representation of how the new facility will look can be viewed at witsportscampus.ie/nextsteps.html.