An estimated 400 jobs are expected to be created in the construction sector at NUI Galway as part of a €75 million spend on university developments.
The major jobs boost was announced as work begins on five new buildings at the city university, one of Ireland’s foremost centres of academic excellence and home to more than 17,000 students.
The university has awarded a contract for the completion of three new world-class research buildings - an arts humanities social sciences research building and two facilities dedicated to biomedical science research - to Galway-based contractor, JJ Rhatigan & Co.
The buildings, which had been temporarily stalled by the receivership of a previous contractor, will be completed on a phased basis from the end of 2012 into early 2013.
Work has already begun on the arts, humanities and social sciences research premises located beside the existing James Hardiman Library. This building will provide a unique research environment to transform Galway’s rich cultural resources into social and economic opportunity, according to the university.
The new facility will be a national and international resource which integrates research and training in the humanities, digital cultures, creative industries, business, social sciences, human rights, advocacy and public policy.
Construction will shortly recommence on the biosciences research building located near Corrib Village student accommodation in Dangan. The third building, a combined clinical/translational research facility, will be located on the grounds of University Hospital Galway and will also begin in early 2012.
“Together these two facilities will enable NUI Galway to build on its existing strength in the biomedical sciences area,” says a spokesperson for the university. “NUI Galway is located at the centre of the medical device and healthcare industries in Ireland and the new facilities are expected to enhance the national capacity and international standing of Ireland in the biomedical sciences arena.”
The new infrastructure requirements on campus stem from the rapid growth of research activity, in biomedical science for example, which directly supports the region’s vital medical devices industry. They are also being fuelled by dramatic rises in student numbers.
Dr James Browne, the president of NUI Galway, stated he was delighted that these “strategically important projects” are under way.
“The investment in research infrastructure will have an immediate benefit in bringing much-needed jobs to the construction industry. Concentrating resources on biomedical science and arts, humanities and social sciences research at NUI Galway will have a major impact on the medical technologies and the creative arts industries in the west of Ireland.
“We have the opportunity now to provide two distinct Irish industry sectors with relevant, world-class research solutions, transforming national leadership into global competitiveness.”
Work has also got under way on two other buildings on the NUI Galway campus. An €8m extension to the arts millennium building, which will house the university’s growing school of psychology, is scheduled for completion during 2013 - JJ Rhatigan & Co is the contractor.
Construction has recommenced on an extension to the student branch of the Bank of Ireland, located on the arts/science concourse - BAM Building Limited will complete this extension.
Commenting on the investment in the campus, vice-president for capital projects, Keith Warnock said the university will play its part in revitalising the economy and bringing much-needed jobs to the construction sector.
“We are investing in world-class facilities for our students. At present we are investing €.75 million per week in developing our campus so that we can offer students a learning environment that is second to none.”