herald

Tuesday 17 October 2017

DIT's Grangegorman campus ready to accept first students

AFTER months of controversy, DIT's new site at Grangegorman will open its doors to its first 350 students on Monday.

The campus has been built on the site of the old St Brendan's Hospital, a former notorious asylum, on time and on budget, restoring many of the old buildings.

It just the first phase of an ambitious €2bn project which involves the gradual relocation of DIT's student population there in the coming years.

Its construction phase generated some disquiet among nearby residents, something chief executive of the Grangegorman Development Agency (GDA) Michael Hand is aware of.

Residents complained of the duration of the works and dust and fumes.

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"I know that the project has caused some disturbance to the neighbours, I would just like to acknowledge that and thank them for their support," he told the Herald.

Mr Hand was keen to make the point, given some of the publicity the large scale construction work has generated recently.

Days ahead of the official opening on Monday, substantial road works were still underway on Grangegorman Road Lower, but the Herald was assured "they are nearly finished".

Mr Hand explained that in recent weeks "an army" of workers had been on hand to finish the work on time.

The first 350 students will arrive on Monday followed week later by a further 750 and will come from the fine art, social sciences and photography courses.

They will find a number of 200-year-old buildings painstakingly restored and given a modern twist.

The main administration building, part of the old hospital, contains a library, canteen and a number of lecture rooms.

The president's office has also been located in the building - though these are all temporary measures until the complex is fully complete.

One of the more impressive buildings on the campus is an old Catholic church, which now houses IT facilities and will be used for classes, concerts and as a multi-faith room.

The majority of lectures will be in the North House Building.

"When we came in, we had to take around 500 pigeons out of it," GDA communications manager Ronan Doyle explained.

When it's finished, some 25,000 people will be living, working or studying at the location every day.

DIT academic Professor Brian Norton, who was moving office this week said the campus will be "a new quarter of the city".

lbyrne@herald.ie

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