IT would have cost €25m in 2006, but Ireland's new International Indoor Athletic Arena came in just a shade over €10m thanks to the downturn, according to Athletics Ireland.
The state-of-the-art indoor arena at Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) in Co Westmeath is expected to attract an additional 6,000 annual visitors to the region and double as an events centre.
In all, AIT coughed up over 90pc of the funding for the arena, hailed by Senator Eamonn Coghlan as "the best news story in Irish athletics history". He believes the tracks rival any in Europe or the US.
Endorsing the arena, Sonia O'Sullivan said it will "enhance the ability of many Irish athletes to train at a high level throughout the winter months".