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Sunday 22 October 2017

Legal action delays new Grangegorman campus until 2019

The Grangegorman campus
The Grangegorman campus
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Work on Dublin Institute of Technology's (DIT) new campus in Grangegorman has been delayed for two years.

A legal challenge by an under-bidder for the €180m-€200m contract, to design and build its two main teaching blocks, means that the big launch won't happen until September 2019.

DIT Grangegorman was due to become home for about 10,000 students this September, coinciding with the arrival of the new Luas Cross City line, which will stop at its gate.

The two-year delay is certain to mean the final price tag for the total project will rise above the original €485.5m estimate.

The contract for the two main teaching blocks, the Central Quad and the East Quad, was awarded in February 2015 to a company called Eriugena.

An unsuccessful tenderer, the Dutch-based BAM PPP, challenged the decision and took a case against the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA) and the Education Minister. The NDFA is the statutory body charged with procuring public private partnership (PPP) projects in Ireland on behalf of the public sector, in this case acting on behalf of the Education Minister.

While the commercial wing of the High Court dismissed the case late last year, work on the Central Quad and East Quad could not go ahead while the action was ongoing.

The NDFA is currently working with the successful tenderer with a view to finalising the financial end of the deal, and September 2019 is the new target date for the opening.

DIT, which caters for 10pc of all third-level students in Ireland, is currently spread across up to 40 buildings in the city.

The move to Grangegorman, on the northside of Dublin city, will unify the college's 15 schools and other facilities on a single site for the first time.

The new campus, and some other community facilities, is a phased project, originally due for final completion in 2020.

In September 2014, about 1,200 students from art, design, photography and social sciences, along with 200 staff, moved into refurbished buildings on the campus, formerly home to St Brendan's Hospital.

Last month, a new DIT innovation hub called Greenway opened on the 73-acre site, its first new building with five storeys. But the completion of the Central Quad and East Quad will bring the main body of students to Grangegorman, catering for those currently located in DIT colleges in Cathal Brugha Street, Rathmines and Kevin Street.

That will be followed by the development of teaching space for business students currently in DIT Aungier Street, a library and student accommodation.

Irish Independent

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