New beginning: campus for Blackrock Further Education Institute unveiled

The €9.5m complex is the new home of more than 1,000 students

Students started back in style yesterday at the new Blackrock Further Education Institute, in south Co Dublin. The further-education campus, with more than 1,000 full-time and part-time students under the direction of principal Deirdre Hanamy, is one of the largest further-education colleges in Ireland.

The new institute, formerly Senior College Dún Laoghaire, is on the site of the original Blackrock Town Hall, Carnegie Library and Municipal Technical College, after agreement between Dún Laoghaire VEC and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council. The impressive building, the fruit of years of planning, was officially unveiled last Friday by Minister for Education and Skills Jan O'Sullivan, whose department funded the €9.5 million campus.

More than 50 day and evening courses at levels 5 and 6 are offered to school leavers and adults returning to education, in areas including beauty therapy, business, accounting, auctioneering, computing and creative technologies, design and community, emergency and healthcare.The college now has state-of-the-art computer labs, design studios, beauty salons, an information and communications technology centre and cafeteria.

McCullough Mulvin Architects and Collen Construction preserved and integrated the original 19th- and early 20th-century protected structures into the new development, which also includes the refurbished Blackrock library, run by DLR council. The institute's campus took joint first place in the 2014 Irish Georgian Conservation Awards and was named Educational Project of the Year in the 2014 Irish Construction Awards.

Hanamy says the new premises will “enhance our ability to provide a quality teaching and learning experience”.

“Institutes like BFEI have a significant role in the education and upskilling of future generations of workers, as well as a responsibility to ensure courses are industry relevant, quality assured, accessible and affordable.”