NUI Galway has begun the process of recruiting a project management team to oversee the development of a €39-million interactive learning facility, the first of its kind in Ireland.
The development of a state-of-the-art ‘learning commons’ will involve a major regeneration of the existing James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway - which has already undergone major renovations and expansion over the last 20 years. Given its status as a protected structure, there are some constraints on what can be done with the building, but these apply mainly to the external structure while allowing for significant transformation inside.
A learning commons is a technology-rich environment in which students can collaborate, communicate and learn in an interactive fashion. The learning commons will encourage active, participative, teaching and learning, with an emphasis on stimulating creativity and multidisciplinary interaction. This typically involves problem-based learning, small group teaching, and collaborative peer-to-peer work. The model has been described as the “library of the future”.
The project management team will include a project manager, quantity surveyor, and assigned certifier. They will oversee all design phases, the construction stage, and the eventual handover. The first phase of construction is expected to be completed by the middle of 2022.
The university issued a tender for project management consultants after Government funding of €15 million was secured for the facility with the support of local Fine Gael TD Hildegarde Naughton.
“This is an exciting project that will place NUIG at the apex of the Irish university sector, embracing modern methods of teaching and learning,” said Dep Naughton. “It will serve the current and future needs of the university’s colleges, creating learning laboratories and collaborative knowledge-share venues. It will also provide a platform for engaging and supporting the wider regional community."