NUI Galway has set out a plan to spend hundreds of millions of euro over the coming years in a significant infrastructure investment programme that will see the development of an innovation district, a new performance space, a library and a new sports campus.
The university, which currently has more than 19,000 students, set out its strategy for 2020 to 2025 in a document titled Shared Visions, Shaped by Value following extensive consultation with students, staff and the wider Galway community.
As part of the infrastructural element of the strategy, NUI Galway laid out its capital development plans to achieve “major social, economic and cultural impact for generations to come”.
This includes a new innovation district on Nuns’ Island to regenerate this part of Galway City; a cultural and performance space; a new library; “affordable” on-campus accommodation for students; a new sports campus including a water sports centre; and expansion of the Galway to Connemara Greenway.
While the university, now in its 175th year, did not put a price on the substantial project, it will run into the hundreds of millions of euro, with the Nuns’ Island element alone expected to cost some €200 million and the library investment set to cost around €37.5 million.
The ambitious plan has been designed in a move to strengthen NUI Galway’s contribution to the region’s reputation as a centre of excellence for medical technologies, data science, culture and climate and oceans.
The university’s president, Prof Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said the strategy reflected the fact that NUI Galway was a “public good, belonging to the people”.
“In this strategy and in these times we will use our location for the benefit of Ireland as an institution formed by values,” he said.
It comes as universities across the State are gearing up to deal with increasing student numbers. Prof Ó hÓgartaigh said NUI Galway had no desire to cap undergraduate numbers, and would “do better with the numbers we have” through better retention and by improving the quality of the student experience.
As part of that NUI Galway is developing a 674-bed accommodation development, and has in the past decade invested €268 million in new buildings on campus.
As to how it will fund its infrastructure project going forward, the university said in its strategy document: “We cannot achieve our ambitions alone. We will also launch an investment programme encouraging our friends, supporters and philanthropists to join us on this journey.”