The long-awaited completion and fit-out of WIT’s Sports Arena and Conference Centre at Carriganore is now imminent after the Institute signed a contract with Tom O’Brien Construction, with work expected to be finalised ahead of the 2016/17 academic year.
The proposed €5.2 million investment will, after a considerable hiatus at Carriganore, make a 2,000-square metre multi-purpose hall available, and finally put Waterford onto the conference map nationally.
Upon completion, which is expected by midsummer, the hall could be used as a 2,000-seater conference or concert hall, for a 1,000-seat banquet or to seat 900 students during exams.
According to WIT President, Professor Willie Donnelly said: “The Carriganore facility when open will provide WIT students with sports facilities to match the best in Europe. We are also committed to providing access to these resources to local clubs, societies and schools. It will play an important role in promoting a healthier active lifestyle in the region.”
Prof Donnelly added: “The Institute would like to thank the Minister for Education and Skills (Jan O’Sullivan) and the Department for their support in enabling the Institute to complete the Carriganore project.”
The funding that’s been made available by the Government is to be fully repaid by WIT on what’s been described as a sustainable basis.
The eagerly-anticipated completion of the Sports Arena/Conference Centre will complement the existing grass, all-weather and support facilities already on campus, in which €16.3m has been invested since 2009.
The fully fitted out building shall also include gymnasiums, teaching and learning lecture rooms, with WIT set to go to tender shortly for furniture, fixtures, and equipment.
“This is a celebratory event for WIT,” said Frank O’Regan, the Institute’s Chairman of Diverse Campus Services.
“I speak for the Directors, Management and Staff of Diverse Campus Services in welcoming this great opportunity at Carriganore. Diverse Campus Services has a strong tradition of supplying excellent new services to the WIT community, and this arena building will create many exciting possibilities.”
Tom O’Brien of the Bilberry-based Tom O’Brien Construction said he was “delighted to secure the contract and work with WIT”.
“As a local contractor based in Waterford, in partnership with our sub-contractors, the majority of which are from the region, this project will prove a major boost to my company, Waterford city and the region.”
According to Turlough Clancy of Henry J Lyons Architects: “The completion of the facility at Carriganore will benefit the students and staff at WIT and will also benefit the wider Waterford and south east region.
“The multifunctional nature of the facility means a broad range of events and sport related facilities will be available to the Institute and the wider community at a very accessible location in Waterford.”