Six education building projects go to tender


Project: Limerick Institute of Technology library and information centre.

Scale: 4,100sq m accommodating 800 students.

Project: University of Limerick library.

Scale: 6,600sq m accommodating 700 students.

Project: Cork Institute of Technology library extension.

Scale: 6,400sq m accommodating 830 students.

Project: Digital media teaching building in Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dublin.

Scale: 4,200sq m accommodating 500 students.

Project: Consolidated workshops in Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dublin.

Scale: 1,920sq m accommodating 600 students.

Project: Multi-purpose hall in Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dublin.

Scale: 1,547sq m accommodating all 1,556 full-time students as well as those studying part-time.

THE FIRST tranche of a major Government programme to build third-level education facilities using the public-private-partnership (PPP) model were sent out to tender yesterday, some 18 months after their initial announcement.

Minister for Education Batt OKeeffe yesterday announced that six building projects were now being offered to the market to tender.

Three of the six projects will be in the Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology; one will be in the Limerick Institute of Technology; another at the University of Limerick; while the sixth will be at the Cork Institute of Technology.

In all, the projects will accommodate 5,000 students and will cover an area of 24,000sq m.

Mr O’Keeffe’s spokesman yesterday declined to disclose the overall value of the projects on the basis that it might distort the tendering process. He said the department was achieving savings of between 10 to 15 per cent in building projects compared to last year. Construction work on the six projects is expected to start late next year and be competed by the end of 2012.

When the overall scheme, comprising 17 projects, was originally announced in January 2008, the then minister for education Mary Hanafin said the total investment would come to €270 million. That figure is likely to have been adjusted downwards because of the decline in the property market.

Announcing the commencement of the first phase of the plan, Mr O’Keeffe said the Government considered this project to be of vital strategic importance for economic recovery.

“They involve investments for the smart economy and the projects will also create hundreds of jobs in construction at a challenging time for the sector,” said Mr O’Keeffe.

The National Development Finance Agency has been given responsibility for the tendering process.

The PPPs will involve contracts where consortiums will design, build, finance and operate the developments over a 25-year period. The six projects in the first phase include library facilities, a digital media teaching building and a multi-purpose hall.

The second and third bundle of projects will provide engineering, maths, research, catering, tourism and science facilities. Nine third-level institutions will benefit in all. The other five institutions are NUI, Maynooth; Waterford IT; Tallaght IT; Carlow IT; and Galway-Mayo IT.

As well as entering into a contract to design, build and fund the projects, the private sector partner in the PPP process has responsibility for the maintenance of the buildings over the 25-year life of the contract and to manage and pay for services such as cleaning and security over that period.