Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) would be interested in annexing the former Waterford Crystal site at Kilbarry if the appropriate finances were provided to take it on.
Speaking to The Munster Express, Richard Hayes, WIT’s Vice-President for Strategy and Institutional Transformation, said the institute’s Cork Road campus is now “bursting at the seams”.
“We don’t have enough space at the moment and that’s why we’re trying to get investment in new buildings,” he stated. “And the more you disperse investment, the harder it is to provide equality for everyone.”
With that in mind, developing the ‘Glass’ site, alongside the Cork Road campus, would appear a long-term and logical fit – if finances allowed it, of course. “That would require money but of course if we had the money, it’s certainly something we’d look at.”
Richard Hayes told this newspaper that “you need to have a critical mass of students to be able to create the kind of quality learning experiences that you want”. He added: “So if a student wants to go to college, they don’t think of going to college where there’s another 50 or a hundred students, which is much more like being in secondary school. They want to go where there’s 10,000 students. And the more you fragment the investment in the sense that you need a library, a canteen and so on, the more you disperse that, the harder it is to provide equality for everybody. We’re always trying to balance between doing really high quality learning such as what’s available in the School of Architecture in the Granary in a city centre location, a location which makes sense given the faculty in question and the built heritage of Waterford, versus what those same architecture students are missing out on because they’re not out on the Cork Road or College Street. So there’s always a balancing act that we need to take into account.”