The Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D. and the Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D. announced a €13.7m capital allocation towards significant building upgrades in IT Sligo.
The funding is being provided under Project Ireland 2040 which commits to exchequer investments of €2.2 billion in Ireland’s higher education infrastructure over the coming decade.
This capital investment will facilitate the consolidation on campus of the recently established Yeats Academy of Arts, Design and Architecture and form a North Campus Creative Hub in IT Sligo. This creative hub will allow art, design and architecture students to optimise the commonalities of the various disciplines in a fit for purpose, collaborative environment. This significant development is an integral part of the master plan of IT Sligo to grow to 10,000 students.
Funding will be provided through the Higher Education Authority (HEA).
Minister McHugh said:
“Today’s funding announcement for IT Sligo demonstrates the Government’s commitment under Project Ireland 2040 to advancing significant infrastructure investment in the higher education sector.
The funding is part of a broader programme focused on essential campus upgrades and refurbishments. Other projects recently announced in this category include the upgrade of the North and South Blocks in Dundalk Institute of Technology and the fit-out of a new engineering campus at Limerick Institute of Technology.
The funding announced today will facilitate a significant upgrade of the existing north campus in IT Sligo, bringing together architecture, creative design, fine art, interior architecture & design, performing arts and writing & literature programmes into a creative hub on campus.
The funding will also support IT Sligo as a member of the Connacht Ulster Alliance in working towards Technological University status. Significant new buildings for the other members of the Alliance, Letterkenny IT and GMIT, are currently being advanced as part of the Higher Education Public Private Partnership Programme. Together these capital investments will greatly enhance the role of the planned TU as a driver of economic and social development in the West and North West”.
Minister Mitchell O’Connor said:
“Lifelong learning is one of the key objectives of Ireland’s National Skills Strategy 2025. IT Sligo has been, and continues to be, a leader in the areas of online and blended learning. I am pleased that this investment will support the Institute to further expand opportunities in this area, particularly in relation to science and engineering courses.
This funding will facilitate the repurposing of decanted space on campus, enabling IT Sligo to enhance its online, lifelong and research learning provision. IT Sligo currently has more than 3,000 students taking online/blended learning programmes. These students are mostly based in existing companies and access to an online higher education programme is one of the few ways they can combine learning with work. To meet the needs for upskilling of the workforce, IT Sligo continues to increase it’s offering of higher education online/blended learning programmes. This development will facilitate the creation of additional dedicated facilities for online learning, including bespoke laboratories, dedicated training areas, delivery suites, online booths adapted for blended learning and virtual learning environments.
In order to achieve its ambition to become a technological university, IT Sligo is also increasing the number of research students. These researchers will be working with companies across the region to support business development and growth. The Institute’s capital development plan includes accommodation for these researchers in existing space and within future capital developments.
The upgrade and modernisation of existing higher education infrastructure will continue to be a key focus of investment under Project Ireland 2040, in addition to capacity expansion.