The sod has been turned on a €22m sports complex on Cork Institute of Technology’s Bishopstown campus.
It will deliver an indoor arena, with basketball courts and seating for 400 people, capable of hosting exams and conferences for up to 1,000 people, and an indoor high-performance indoor athletics centre, which will include a large multi-event zone, with a sprint track and elite training labs.
The complex will be delivered in two phases, with the arena to be built first and the athletics facilities to follow.
They are being built on some all-weather pitches and existing car parking areas alongside CIT’s existing athletics track to provide an integrated sports campus zone.
Site clearance and preparation work is already underway with builders working towards a target opening date of September 2021 for the arena, and September 2022 for the indoor athletics facilities.
Tánaiste Simon Coveney, who turned the sod on site today, said the government is set to invest more in the development of CIT’s Cork campus following the announcement from Cabinet last month that the consortium of CIT and the Institute of Technology Tralee (ITT) is set to become the Munster Technological University (MTU) from January.
“This campus is being transformed. You're going to see the government investing more and more in upgrading this campus on the back of the (MTU) decision,” Mr Coveney said.
“And from a sports perspective, what's going to happen here is going to be phenomenal.
“For anyone who’s thinking about coming to study here, and who’s interested in sport, you're not going to get better facilities than that anywhere in the country.” he high-performance sports facility to be built in phase two follows a successful joint proposal from Athletics Ireland and CIT to the government’s large scale sports infrastructure fund.
Athletics Ireland CEO Hamish Adams said they have exciting plans for the facility.
The 3,600 sqm CIT/MTU Arena will have a large multi-function hall incorporating two basketball courts with seating for 400 people, an 800 sqm gymnasium, a strength and conditioning area, a public foyer with integrated café pod, changing areas and studio rooms.
It will be able to host exam sittings, student concerts, higher education conferences and conventions with capacity for 1,000 attendees, conferring ceremonies, student exhibitions, and student society activities.
Phase two will see the development of the 3,500 sq m high-performance indoor athletics centre with a large multi-event zone, a sprint track and elite training labs, as well as facilities for the high jump, pole vault, long jump and triple jump.
CIT President, Dr Barry O’Connor, President of CIT, said the development will be a massive boost not just for athletics, but for all sport in the region.
“The recent opening of the Kerry Sports Academy by our MTU partners, IT Tralee, will complement developments here in Bishopstown and will secure the MTU as a unique resource for ensuring that sport and wellness are to the fore in our new technological university,” he said.