The university’s €224million plan consists of 12 infrastructure developments on the University’s north and south campus, construction of a new Clinical Education Research building on the site of the University Hospital Limerick and development of a city centre campus including student residences and an academic building.
A thousand jobs are expected to be created over the lifetime of the development plan with 290 full-time positions and 710 construction-related jobs over the period of the plan.
The loan was formally agreed by Professor Don Barry, president of the University of Limerick (UL) and Jonathan Taylor, European Investment Bank (EIB) vice president responsible for Ireland, and witnessed by Michael Noonan TD, Irish finance minister and governor of the European Investment Bank.
“Our plan outlines our vision for the future development and expansion of the University of Limerick covering 50,000 square metres of state-of-the-art research, student, sports and academic facilities,” said Barry, speaking at the launch of the UL capital development plan 2014-2018. “The granting of this loan facility clearly indicates a very welcome endorsement of UL’s development plans by the European Investment Bank.”
Taylor said: “Expansion of the University of Limerick’s research and academic facilities, as well as a new library and student facilities will transform education and student life for future generations.”
“This is very positive news for the University of Limerick and indeed for Limerick and the wider region as a whole,” said Noonan. “The University Capital Investment Plan will ensure the University is a world class campus at the heart of Limerick and will create 1,000 jobs in Limerick. This is a great boost for the city.”
The off-campus capital developments are valued at €62m and represent 30% of the overall investment of the development plan. funding for the remainder of UL’s capital development plan will be secured from a number of sources, including philanthropic donors, state grants, commercial activities and University of Limerick funding.
Projects include work to double the size of the Glucksman Library and introduce a dedicated climate-controlled special collections unit and construction of a rugby training centre, new swimming pool and climbing wall. The university is currently undertaking the investigative phase of an initiative to construct student accommodation in Limerick city centre. This is being developed in collaboration with the city authorities and currently involves up to 400 student-bedroom units. This project may rise in scale to a 1,000 bed facility in partnership with other higher education institutions in the city subject to feasibility and funding. The university is also committed to developing a significant academic facility in the downtown area. Construction of a clinical education and research building on the site of the University Hospital Limerick is another part of the plan.
Over the last five years the EIB has provided more than €559m for long-term investment in Irish education. This includes support for investment in 105 schools across the country, campus development at UCD and new research facilities at Trinity College.