A planning application has been submitted to Waterford City and County Council for a new building for Waterford Institute of Technology’s (WIT) main campus on the Cork Road in Waterford.
The proposed 12,800 m2 Engineering, Computing and General Teaching building is the largest of one of 11 state-of-the-art projects announced in 2017 as part of a Project Ireland 2040 investment in institutes of technology.
Described as a ‘living, learning laboratory’ the new high energy performance building will include workshops, laboratories, classrooms, lecture theatres, research space, tutorial rooms, training rooms and administration offices. It will give students in the Schools of Engineering, Science & Computing and Humanities access to state-of-the-art infrastructure and a modern student environment.
The building will be a cornerstone in the future development of the Technological University for the South East. WIT President Prof Willie Donnelly said: “The institute welcomes the announcement of this significant investment in the general education, engineering computer science building which is an important investment for the technological university for the south east. The new building is the largest single infrastructure investment in the institute and will enable the institute to continue to develop a multidisciplinary curriculum in science, engineering and the creative arts in line with the best international third and fourth level education.”
“WIT continues to experience strong growth in student numbers in these three areas right up to PhD level. The new building will not only provide these students with state-of-the-art facilities, it will also support the strategic development of training, research and innovation with our regional and international industry partners enabling further economic growth in the region through these collaborations. Through convergence with industry and an internationally recognised model for TUs it will define the educational framework for the TU, and enhance our future offering to the region,” Prof Donnelly continued.
Dr Ken Thomas, Head of the School of Engineering said the new facilities will be key to educating in-demand engineers at undergraduate level and upskilling engineers through flexible and postgraduate programmes. As part of its portfolio WIT recently introduced a common engineering honours degree. In addition a range of flexible options are in demand with working engineers and their employers wishing to bring their upskill in next generation technologies.
“The new facilities will greatly enhance WIT’s education, training, research and innovation activities. It is required urgently to address the skills needs in the medium and long-term and is key to ensuring that the city and the region has the engineering and computing talent and capability for a range of essential business sectors.”
The building is included in the Department of Education and Skills’ Public Private Partnership (PPP) Programme. The parties involved include the Department of Education and Skills, the Higher Education Authority, the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA) and WIT.
Taylor McCarney Architects which specialises in educational buildings and also completed NUI Galway’s engineering building has been appointed to the project.