Construction work starts on new €20m student centre at University of Limerick

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Works on a major centre that will form a “new destination” for students at University of Limerick have started.

The new Student Centre, a 3,529 square metre building set over three storeys, is in a prime front of house location adjacent to the Stables Complex and the Glucksman Library.

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The facility, the total project cost of which is in the region of €20m, is being funded on a partnership basis between the students and the University. The students voted in 2016 by way of referendum to fund almost 80% of the capital cost through a development levy.

Works on a brand new state of the art climbing wall at the UL Arena are also due to start next month, demonstrating UL’s commitment to providing top-class facilities that will enhance the student experience.

Again, the student body is the major funder of the new climbing wall, which will be Ireland’s tallest and forms part of a raft of new campus sporting facilities that also include the 22-acre Maguire’s Field pitches.

The new Student Centre – a ‘Centre for Student Life’ as articulated by the students – will support the student journey through UL and will be a space where students can relax, play, be informed and supported.

It is intended as a new ‘destination’ for all UL students and will add significant value to the student experience, greatly enhancing the campus for future generations.

The existing student centre, located in the Stables Courtyard, dates back to 1999 when the student population was half what it is now. There has also been a huge growth in the number of student clubs and societies, with membership likewise increasing.

The anticipated completion date for the new Student Centre is November 2020.

UL Student Life President Jack Scanlan said: “These student projects are the result of 12 years of hard work and perseverance by the students of UL who demanded more from their University experience through enhanced facilities, empowered by UL Student Life and supported by the senior management of UL.

“The new multi-million euro student centre will be the hub of student activity for all students. We have outgrown our current building here in the Stables Courtyard and the new centre is set to cater for our ever-growing student numbers as well as the diversifying student population we have here on campus. The new centre is being built in the heart of the campus right across from the library with a view that this will be the focal point of student life on campus,” he added.

Work on the climbing wall is expected to start in mid-July and be completed by May 2020. The design caters for both fun and expert climbers of all ages and capabilities.

The architectural vision aspires to provide an iconic facility which draws inspiration from natural rock formations and strata, with the external materials contrasting with the brick finish on the Arena building.

“The climbing wall will be Ireland’s tallest, standing at 21 metres and equipped with an ability to cater for the new Olympic sports of speed climbing. The Outdoor Pursuits club are one of our flagship clubs here on campus, catering for more than 750 students per annum, in rock climbing, mountaineering, caving, and hill walking and orienteering. It is fantastic that these students will now have a world-class facility to train in here on campus with the capability of catering for all three new Olympic category events,” said Student Life President Jack Scanlan.

“Personally these projects fill me with a great sense of pride in the students of UL who over the last 12 years have not taken no for an answer and who believed in their vision to create a better UL for all our future students,” he added.

UL President Dr Des Fitzgerald said: “This new Student Centre is a wonderful example of how the student population can work with the University to create positive change.

“From the concept, to design, to the majority funding of the project, this Student Centre shows how this campus is as dynamic as it is ever changing and as The Sunday Times Irish University of the Year and as the winner of the best student campus, the addition of this centre will support and allow UL Student Life to grow, collaborate and support the many societies and clubs which add significant value to the student experience.

“Supporting the student experience is paramount for this University and this facility will be an excellent centre for UL’s vibrant student life.

“UL students are pioneering in similar part-funded projects as this campus boasts the completed boathouse project and UL will also be home to a state of the art climbing wall that will challenge climbers of all capabilities once complete next summer.

“The Student Centre and Climbing Wall will both be magnificent additions to campus,” he added.