A multi-million euro expansion plan for Letterkenny Institute of Technology - LYIT - has been announced this morning as part of a nationwide investment by the Department of Education.
The Letterkenny campus is to receive funding for a new library and a new general education teaching building which will also house a learning resource centre, IT and innovation laboratories, online learning delivery rooms and classrooms.
Nationally an investment on €200M in 11 campuses is being made.
Minister Joe McHugh said: “I am delighted that LYIT has been included in the state of the art projects being rolled out across the country.
“The investment under the Public Private Partnership model is being rolled out alongside a further €367 million in investment in higher education between next year and 2021.
“The LYIT plans will provide jobs at the campus during the construction phase and create additional places for students in Letterkenny in the years ahead.
“I want to thank Minister Bruton and Minister Mitchell O’Connor for recognising the important role LYIT plays in the delivery of quality courses here in the North West.”
Minister McHugh added: "The further development of third level courses on a cross-border bases in conjunction with with the Magee Campus and the North West Regional College in Derry was an issue discussed with the Taoiseach during his visit at the weekend and this is something the Government is going to prioritise in the years ahead."
These state of the art 11 projects will lead to a step change in STEM-related skills, including ICT, engineering and life sciences across the country. These new facilities will help drive regional development and will be transformative for the individual institutions and the regions they serve.
While the intended location and skills focus of projects are being announced today, it should be noted that all proposals will be the subject of ongoing technical appraisal and economic analysis to ensure value for money is achieved. This process will inform the final scale and scope of each project, which will be approved and announced prior to procurement.
Minister Bruton said: “I have set the ambition to make Ireland the best education and training service in Europe within a decade. State of the art facilities are key to realizing this ambition and I am delighted to be here today with Minister Mitchell O’Connor to announce this new programme of investment.
“Today, we are announcing the eleven major infrastructure projects to be delivered around the country as part of a €200 million PPP Programme for the higher education sector. These projects will be delivered in every province, in locations extending from Letterkenny to Waterford, and from Galway to Dublin.
“The delivery of these projects, together with the additional €257m over three years capital funding which we secured last week in the Budget, mark a turning point for State investment in the higher education sector. They demonstrate the commitment of the Government to supporting the sector in catering for demographic growth, responding to skills needs in the economy and improving the campus environment for students and staff.
“The locality will also benefit from the new facilities being provided as many HEIs make their grounds and buildings available to the community. It is also expected to provide an important boost to the relevant local economies and to the construction industry, creating approximately 1,500 construction-related jobs during the construction phase alone.”
Minister Mitchell said: “Institutes of Technology have been disproportionately affected by the fall-off in capital investment in higher education over the past decade. And yet they have still shown a level of flexibility and innovation that rivals any other sector. In recent times the infrastructure hasn’t evolved or improved quickly enough to match their dynamism. We’re starting the process of changing that today. Today’s investment will help cater for new approaches that promote innovation and make use of the latest technologies.
“Many of our Institutes are working towards the attainment of Technological University status and the new infrastructure will support them in that aim.
“The move towards Technological Universities is a game changer for the sector. It’s a significant, welcome structural change. And is an example of the kind of vision and big thinking we need to progress our society.
“Technological Universities will provide the opportunity to drive regional development, provide more opportunities for students, and create a step change in the impact and influence of these institutions regionally, nationally and internationally. My intention is to progress the legislation as quickly as possible. Because it’s essential that we make rapid progress on this issue."