LIMERICK Institute of Technology is set to provide the local economy with a massive boost by unveiling a €200m plus development of its city campuses over the next 15 years that will create 3,000 jobs over the course of the project.
Details of the massive proposed investment are not to be made public until the autumn but the Limerick Leader has established exclusively that the unprecedented expansion of LIT will be the single biggest expansion of a third level institution outside of Dublin over the next 15 years.
LIT President Dr Maria Hinfelaar is to officially unveil the third level institution’s masterplan in September but confirmed details of the proposed investment to this newspaper after plans were presented to a range of Limerick city and external stakeholders, including the worldwide American Ireland Fund - both in New York and San Francisco.
The plan, which will create up to 200 jobs per annum in the development phases, will facilitate an anticipated minimum 30% expansion of LIT’s student body to over 9,000 full-time students by 2025 and will include significant investment in, and expansion of, existing campuses at Moylish and Clare Street as well as another major site, details of which will be disclosed at the plan’s unveiling.
The expansion will take place on a phased basis, with the first phase commencing in 2013.
“We believe that this masterplan will act as a catalyst and enabler for the revitalisation of the city. It will see LIT brought to a new level as it amounts to the most exciting phase of expansion in the history of our institute,” said Dr Hinfelaar.
“It will position LIT as one of the key drivers of a vibrant city and region, together with the reorganisation of Limerick’s local authorities, the acceleration of the physical element of the Limerick Regeneration programme and the investment in Limerick city centre,” she added.
The LIT president, who recently confirmed that the institution had pitched to be a base for Munster Rugby’s training facilities in Limerick, confirmed that this would also be an element of a wider first phase of the project.
Dr Hinfelaar outlined that the ambitious plans will see LIT embarking on an “unprecedented expansion” in order to continue to provide modern and student centred facilities, but on a scale that is needed by “a rapidly expanding institution, in line with government targets”. The plans fit in with LIT’s desire to become a Munster Technological University, along with Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) and Institute of Technology Tralee (IT Tralee), but are not exclusive to this happening.
“It’s been a really challenging few years for Limerick, which was disproportionately hit by the downturn and largely forgotten in the boom that preceded it. But with this, and other projects, there is now the potential to turn that corner,” she explained.
The plan is in response to ‘unprecedented growth’ across LIT discipline areas, she added.