April 19th, 1962
FROM THE ARCHIVES:The contracts for the first buildings on UCD’s new campus at Belfield were signed in 1962 almost 30 years after the college had bought Belfield House. – JOE JOYCE
THE £2 million contract for the new science block for University College, Dublin, which is to be built at Belfield, was signed yesterday in the presence of members of the college’s board of governors.
It is hoped that part of the building will be ready for the 1964/65 session and the remainder of it the following year. The contract was awarded to Messrs. Thomas McInerney and Sons, Ltd., and was signed on their behalf by Mr. Frank McInerney and Mrs. Sara McInerney. The president of the college, Dr. Michael Tierney, the secretary and bursar, Mr. J. P. MacHale, and the chairman of the buildings committee, Professor Pierce Purcell, signed on behalf of the governing body.
Dr. Tierney congratulated Messrs. McInerney on getting the contract. They were a firm with a very high reputation for the excellence of their work and the speed of their operations.
“The second of these qualities, I may say, is of the greatest importance to the college in its present circumstances,” he said.
“With regular annual increases in our student numbers we are under constant threat of not being able to accommodate all who come to us. We will take no action that would impede the contractors in the earliest possible completion of their work.
“To-day’s ceremony constitutes an all-important step forward for the college and closes a period of more than 40 years during which while the work of the college was continually expanding, no real provision was being made for its adequate housing.
“In 1919 half of the original building designed for the college was finished. From that date until now we have not been able to erect a single building other than small and temporary structures. The buildings for a small college were left uncompleted in 1919, and we are now beginning the erection of buildings suitable to the great national institution which the college has become.
“Though the work begins to-day, there has been a long period of necessary preparation since we began to acquire our Belfield grounds in 1949. With the generous help of the State the site for the new college now amounts to about 280 acres.
“By standards obtaining in some countries neither the site nor the buildings we propose to erect will be large. They will be in every way sufficient for our purposes and will give to our students the opportunity of a better training and a better university life than has hitherto been available in this country.
“It is hoped that a great part of this science building will be open for work at the beginning of the 1964/65 session and the remainder one session later. Before that date an international competition for the lay-out of the whole college and for an arts and administration block will have taken place, so that it should be possible to begin the second group of buildings before the first is completed.”