Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell-O’Connor, TD visited the IT Tralee on Monday 29th of January to close out a year of commemorating the Institute’s 40 year anniversary. The Institute of Technology Tralee was established as a Regional Technical College in 1977.
The Institute was established in the South Campus in Clash, a 10-acre site which the Institute outgrew over time. The next chapter of capital development was initiated with the opening of the North Campus, in Dromtacker in 2001. Since the official opening of the North Campus, the campus infrastructure has been expanded by the construction of the Sólás Building (headquarters for the Nursing Department) and the Library, Information and Resource Centre. Currently the Institute’s capital infrastructure is being enhanced by the construction of a €16.5m Kerry Sports Academy , which is currently the largest capital project in Kerry.
The Minister, as part of her itinerary visited the construction site of the Kerry Sports Academy which is due to open in January 2019. Once opened the Kerry Sports Academy will be home to an international centre of sporting excellence for education, training and research. It will serve as the national sports centre for people with disabilities, empowering people to realise their true potential in an environment where both the equipment and expertise are specifically adapted for their needs. The Kerry Sports Academy will also be the headquarters for the Health and Leisure Department of the Institute.
Minister Mitchell-O’Connor also visited the site of the proposed €30m IT Tralee Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) building which was recently announced under a PPP by the Department of Education & Skills. It is expected that construction of this building will commence in 2019 with the facility opening to students in 2021.
Addressing staff and students Minister Mary Mitchell-O’Connor recognised the Institutes ambitious plans and its trajectory of growth over the last 40 years. “The Institute of Technology Tralee plays a vital role in higher education ensuring that industry in the region has access to highly qualified, work ready graduates. The development of the new STEM building which will cater for 1000 students will provide a vital piece of educational & research infrastructure for the region into the future.”
In welcoming the Minister to the Institute, President of IT Tralee, Dr Oliver Murphy said “I would like to express my thanks to the Minister for taking the time to visit us today. Over 4 decades the Institute has grown exponentially with a current enrolment of over 3,000 students and 300 staff while supporting a thriving research community of over 100 researchers including academic staff, research professionals and postgraduate students. We have recently published the ‘IT Tralee Strategic Plan – A Vision to 2021’ and we look forward to another 40 years of continued growth including the establishment of the Munster Technological University (MTU).”
Legislation to progress the MTU passed through Dáil Eireann on Tuesday 23rd of January and is due for consideration by the Seanad on Tuesday 30th of January. The first cohort of students are expected to enter MTU in September 2019.