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May 8, 2009

Construction starts on new Research Building at NUI Maynooth

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The ground-breaking ceremony to mark the start of construction of a new €15 million Interdisciplinary Research Building at NUI Maynooth took place earlier this week. The state-of-the-art building, to be completed in 2010, will house 350 students and 200 academic staff and researchers, including three of the University’s world renowned research institutes.

This event marks the beginning of NUI Maynooth’s ten-year Campus Development Plan which will provide students with the best facilities for research, learning and teaching. The ambitious project is expected to support over 150 jobs in the construction phase. Once completed, the new 4,500sqm building will house three of the University’s world renowned research institutes: NCG (National Centre for Geocomputation), NIRSA (National Institute for Research and Spatial Analysis) and An Foras Feasa, the Institute for Research in Irish Historical and Cultural Traditions. The facility will also include a 350 seat lecture theatre and a spacious social area equipped with WiFi for student use.

Located on the University’s North Campus, alongside the John Hume Building, the building is designed by Scott Tallon Walker to complement the existing buildings on the North campus. The building’s glass exterior and contemporary look will reflect the world class research activity happening within it. Speaking at the sod-turning event, Minister O’Keeffe said, “Today’s event marks the start of the physical delivery phase of this prestigious university’s 10-year campus development plan which will provide staff and students with top-class facilities for learning, teaching and conducting research. The new humanities and social sciences building will house three separate research institutes – the National Centre for Geocomputation; the National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis; and An Foras Feasa.

“The Government is strongly committed to the research agenda and we consider NUI Maynooth’s continuing work as critical to Ireland’s economic prospects. The research that will be conducted in the new building is an example of the kind of work we must now embrace as we seek build the knowledge-intensive society of the future.” The building will cost an estimated €15m to complete and the project is being funded through a €5.66m grant from the Programme for Research at Third Level Institutes (PRTLI4) with NUI Maynooth securing the remaining €9.3m through its fundraising programme.

NUI Maynooth President, Prof. John Hughes, said, “This is the first step in our ten year vision for the development of the campus at NUI Maynooth, and to position Maynooth as Ireland’s University Town. As well as providing important inter-disciplinary research space, we took the decision to increase the size of this building to incorporate important additional facilities for students and academic departments, to be funded from our own resources. We are also moving ahead with other projects, including the new library extension announced by the Minister last December which is now at Design Phase, and additional student accommodation here on our campus. These advancements, along with other planned developments, will provide a tangible reflection of the innovative research and teaching carried out at NUI Maynooth, and will also enhance the social experience for students and staff”

NUI Maynooth’s Director of Corporate Services, Frank Fitzmaurice, laid out the timetable for the building work. “We are delighted to formally start the construction of this facility. The new building will dramatically enhance the heart of the North Campus as a centre of student and teaching activity, while the additional research facilities will allow NUI Maynooth to play an even stronger role within the local and national economy. The building, which Walls Construction got the contract for should be fully operational by June 2010.”

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