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€200 million investment in Limerick Institute of Technology’s Limerick and Tipperary campuses

Posted by Francis O' Toole on September 4, 2012

The Irish Times – Tuesday, September 4, 2012

DAVID RALEIGH

A planned €200 million investment in Limerick Institute of Technology’s Limerick and Tipperary campuses, launched yesterday, aims to create 3,000 jobs across the construction, teaching and services sectors.

Most of the first €20 million of investment has been secured.

The master plan includes the proposed development of an “Irish Fashion Incubator” to house fashion enterprises set up by LIT students to target the best fashion houses across the globe.

“The incubator will focus primarily on knitwear – that’s a particular strength that we have in the college of art and design,” said Jimmy Browne, secretary financial controller at the Limerick institute.

“We already have equipment that is used to run a couple of businesses that have export potential at the moment, so it will build on that reputation and generally look at the design and creation of new products.”

He said that over time, “we it might see that it will become part of replacing the history of Limerick lace and the history that Limerick has in this particular creative history”.

The investment will see an additional 50,000 sq m of new facilities as well as extensive refurbishment works across LIT’s four existing campuses and at a new, 7,000 sq m campus at Coonagh, Limerick.

Other key elements will include added student villages, an integrated transport system and a plaza linking the college and Thomond Park stadium.

LIT president Dr Maria Hinfelaar added: “This is not just a milestone moment for our institute, but our city and region, as we truly believe that this will be a catalyst in the transformation of Limerick and the wider region.”

Dr Hinfelaar said the college’s unprecedented level of expansion was critical for it to continue to meet increased demand for its undergraduate and postgraduate courses. “A good example of the current demand for places at LIT is our school of art and design, which is ranked in the top 50 such colleges in the world but has 900 CAO applications for just 200 places each year,” Ms Hinfelaar said.

The college aims to cater for 8,500 students by 2030. “Even if the level of participation in third level stays the same, we are going to have to cater for larger numbers. Simply, we need more space,” she said.

Part of the master plan has already been granted planning, but the bulk of the proposed development will be lodged with planners before Christmas.

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