By Eimear Rabbitt, intern

DIT will become one again after plans for the building of a single state of the art campus in the North Inner city was finally given the green light. DIT is one of Ireland?s largest and most popular third level Institutions and has a long history of colleges sprawling across the City Centre which cater for the different interest of students.

The new campus will allow for the amalgamation of all the activities of DIT in one location. However, the new development to be built on the grounds of St. Brendan's Hospital in Grangegorman, Dublin 7 will also provide state-of-the-art mental health facilities and a variety of public amenities.

The project is a bright spot on an otherwise bleak economic outlook and it will bring about significant job creation with the promise of 4,500 full time jobs over the course of its construction. It is anticipated that all going well, a further 1,100 full time jobs will also be created in the years following its construction in areas such as retail, administration and maintenance.

The announcement comes after years of speculation and doubt as to whether the project would get off the ground at all. The move to Grangegorman has been in the pipelines for many years, but with the rapid decline of the Irish economy in recent years, plans were put on the back burner and many feared that they would never come to fruition.

Speculation was further fuelled following the issue of a report by An Board Snip Nua recommending the government to withdraw all of the funding to the Grangegorman Development Agency (GDA) -1.5 billion- stating that it would be more cost effective to amalgamate Tallaght IT and Blanchardstown IT with DIT.

However on 22nd September last, Taoiseach Brian Cowen was on hand to launch what has been described as a "major new infrastructure development project for Dublin's North Inner City and for DIT". The announcement comes as a pleasant distraction in what has undoubtedly been a turbulent few months for the under fire Taoiseach. "This is a significant project in terms of generating jobs and providing a key piece of infrastructure for
education and to develop our knowledge economy"
he said at the launch.

{module Island Banners|xhtml} The minister for Education and Skills, Tánaiste Mary Coughlan, also present at the launch, welcomed the announcement as a chance to enhance the development of every student enrolling in DIT. "The role of higher education has never being more important to society than it is today. The value of our human capital has always been our greatest asset and the students graduating from this campus will play a crucial role in advancing our society and improving the quality of life of our citizens."

The President of DIT, Professor Brian Norton said "This is a really significant development for the future of Dublin and for Dublin Institute of Technology, and I am very proud to be leading DIT at this exciting time. By consolidating all our activities on a single campus, we can continue to deliver student-centered education; industry-related research and technology transfer to future generations."

The regeneration plans have received a mixed reception by current DIT students with some believing that it will help to improve the status of the Institute, while others are worried about possible transport difficulties.

"I think it is both good and bad", says Aungier Street student Camilla Elan. "It'll be great to have everything in one place and it should help give DIT a stronger Identity. But to have the campus situated outside of the City Centre may put some potential students off as it is an awkward commute for those who would have gotten the train before."

"I think it is a positive move as it will mean an end to the North/South divide of the societies so students will get to meet more people who share their same interests", believes final year student Eimear Lowe.

DIT Student Union President Ciarán Nevin echoed these sentiments, stating that it will create a greater cross -over between the many disciplines offered within the college and will therefore create a much more suitable learning environment. ?When one walks through Bolton St. you can see engineering students hard at work, to the sound of machinery. When you walk through Kevin St. you can see science students in their lab coats carrying out experiments. Each and every DIT site is full of activity. Grangegorman will bring all of this to one location.?

Ciarán believes that it is an essential step forward for education and health care in Ireland. ?For the 20,000 students of DIT, it will deliver a campus worthy of the quality of education already provided within the Institute.? CEO and DIT student, Bob Coggins, sits on the Grangegorman Development Agency, who are developing the project, and he maintains "This is the last remaining large undeveloped site in Dublin City Centre, and it is important that we ensure we create to best possible College Campus to compliment the work that is already being done in DIT. The fact that the MasterPlan for the campus has won several awards already, including the Chicago Athenaeum 2010 American Architecture Award, points to the world class preparation that is going into this new Urban centre?.

"I think it's a nice idea but it puts the lie to the whole DIT slogan of 'the city is our campus'? said Journalism student Heather Thompson, 26. "I'm glad that we'll be graduated before the move to Grangegorman because I don't fancy being way out of town in an isolated area. Trinity's going to be the only city centre university left."

The outline of the Grangegorman project, including an award winning Master plan, are on display in a number of locations around the Dublin 7 are and are available for viewing by members of the public. This provides the general public with the chance to make suggestions to the Grangegorman Development Agency if they wish.

For further information check out the agency's website

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