Sports complex to create 200 jobs

 

UP TO 200 jobs are to be created in Waterford during the construction of a €10.5 million sports and conference complex.

The ambitious project is being undertaken by Waterford Institute of Technology at its Carriganore campus on the outskirts of the city and included will be four playing pitches, along with a 2,000-seat conference centre, which will double as an examination centre for WIT students.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin yesterday turned the first sod on the project at a ceremony which was also attended by GAA president Christy Cooney, Councillor Liam Brazil, WIT chairman Dr Donal Ormonde and WIT acting president Tony McFeely.

The new complex will complement the recently opened WIT Sports Arena, built at a capital cost of €8.5 million, and is designed to integrate fully with the existing sports pavilion, changing facilities and outdoor pitches.

As well as a two-level gymnasium, it also includes six individual suites for performance analysis and an e-learning centre which can accommodate up to 180 people.

Mr Howlin said the project had the potential to become a world-class venue and would showcase hurling, Ireland’s unique contribution to the sporting world.

“It is a very good example of co-operation between institutions such as the GAA, WIT and private enterprise which will yield substantial benefits for athletes, students and other young people as well as the community as a whole, while creating a centre of sport excellence in Waterford which can be an example of best practice for the rest of the country,” the Minister said.

Mr Cooney said it was a “superb” project that he and the GAA were glad to endorse.

“Waterford IT has produced a template based on the highest possible standards in their development of this facility, one for others to follow. The sporting pluses – for Gaelic games in particular – arising from this facility are clear for all to see, but the possible knock-on from such an initiative is not restricted to sporting activity alone.”

Dr Ormonde said the conference facilities being provided by the project would be a “significant addition to the southeast region”.