Renovations for UCD president’s new offices to cost €7.5m

Multimillion-euro plans approved to renovate 19th-century villa-style property

When refurbished, Ardmore House will house new offices for UCD’s president, his staff and the UCD Foundation, the university’s fundraising arm.

When refurbished, Ardmore House will house new offices for UCD’s president, his staff and the UCD Foundation, the university’s fundraising arm.

 

The renovation of a period house on the University College Dublin (UCD) campus, to be used as new offices for the university president, is set to cost more than €7 million, confidential internal documents show.

Renovation of Ardmore House, a historic 19th century villa-style property near the centre of the south Dublin campus, has been in train for the last two years.

The refurbished historic building will house new offices for the university president Prof Andrew Deeks, his staff and the UCD Foundation, the university’s fundraising arm.

The full cost of the work will come to €7.5 million, the university’s governing authority was told last December, according to confidential meeting minutes seen by The Irish Times.

Prior to the renovation works the building was in use as offices for the university’s commercial services staff, and had several conference rooms for meetings.

The university had allocated €900,000 to the project, to allow for initial enabling works. The funding was approved by Prof Deeks directly, and not the university’s finance committee as would usually be the case for capital spending.

A note to the governing authority said the budget increase was approved by Prof Deeks “between meetings” of the finance committee, under “delegated authority”.

At a December 12th governing authority meeting, approval was sought to increase the project’s budget by €6.4 million to €7.5 million.

The university bursar David Kelly “clarified the initial spend” which had been approved was “simply to enable the works,” and the increase to more than €7 million represented the project’s full budget, according to the minutes.

Financial reserves

Funding for the project is to come out of the university financial reserves, the meeting heard. Concerns were raised over “whether a financial strategy exists for the use of university reserves,” which stood at between €20 million and €25 million.

The university was “currently funding a lot of investment that may reduce options” into the future, the minutes detailed. The governing authority agreed that a “lower limit not to be breached except in exceptional circumstances should be considered” for the university’s reserve funding.

Ardmore House was originally purchased by UCD in 1957, and had previously been used to house laboratories.

“The building requires significant work to preserve and restore it and to bring it into compliance with building regulations,” a UCD spokeswoman said.

The works include a “new modern return to replace the current substandard return,” and improvements to the accessibility of the building, she said.