Pictured: Aoife Gleeson, President of Mary Immaculate Students' Union (MISU); Professor Eugene Wall, President of MIC; Cathal Quinn, Managing Director of Quinn Architects; Michael Keane, Vice-President Administration and Finance at MIC.
Mary Immaculate College (MIC) has set out exciting and ambitious plans for the College’s development over the next twenty years in its new Masterplan 2042. The plan, which is the first developed by MIC since the incorporation of St Patrick’s College, Thurles in 2016, is a vision and strategy framework that outlines the medium to long-term development plans and builds upon the academic, cultural, social and recreational vision for the College.
This masterplan sets out eight strategic objectives that map out a clear direction for the next stages of development across both the Limerick and Thurles campuses. These objectives consolidate what has already been achieved over the past 30 years since the first College plan was published and build on the successes of the College in championing growth in student numbers and the development of attractive campus settings with building facilities that support the essential functions of the College.
The masterplan takes care to frame MIC’s development within the context of current national and regional development policy towards Limerick, Thurles and the greater Mid-West region. It is intentionally framed so as to align with Project Ireland 2040, the Government’s long-term overarching strategy for Ireland.
The significant recent growth of the College informs the building objectives of the plan, including teaching spaces, office and study spaces, accommodation and relaxation areas, and sports facilities. Foremost within the exciting plans for new builds are the proposed new library & learning resource centre – which in December 2022 received approval from Minister for Further & Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD, to move to a Stage 2B Design & Pre-tender stage. This building will provide study spaces more suited to current learning methods in a much larger, environmentally conscious and modernised building. In addition, the masterplan underpins the commitment by MIC to ensuring all existing buildings – some of which are over a hundred years old - are kept up to date with current buildings regulations standards, and to caring for the eleven protected structures across both campuses.
Throughout the masterplan, MIC’s commitments in the area of Climate Change & Sustainability are carefully considered and specifically inform two of the eight strategic objectives. The plan outlines a series of goals for promoting sustainability, including minimising the impact of buildings on the global and local environments; promoting an active campus life for students and staff whereby walking and cycling is encouraged; reducing waste and promoting recycling, and protecting and fostering bio-diversity. Nurturing the environment on campus is also a key objective across both campuses, which boast mature trees and landscapes. The maintenance and renewal of the existing landscape character of the campuses as a key component of MIC’s identity and image are combined with the development of a coherent and varied series of landscaped open spaces that are integrated with building use and movement.
MIC’s space within both Limerick city and Thurles town is also emphasised, with the existing community engagement celebrated, particularly when it comes to the use of the College spaces by external groups, and most especially in the areas of education, sports and culture.
Announcing the plan was Professor Eugene Wall, President of MIC, who said: “It is with great pleasure and sense of excitement that we announce Masterplan 2042. It endeavours to address the projected needs of our students and their lecturers over this time frame, whilst also according due recognition to the local communities close to the College and the environment we seek to protect and nurture. In particular, this plan confirms our commitment to not develop the campus in isolation but as a living and contributing component of both the local community and the national higher education landscape. I think we can all look forward to exciting developments at MIC in the future as the College.”
He continued to say that the plan has undergone a consultative process that sought out the views of the staff, the Students’ Union, the City and County Councils, the Higher Education Authority, the College Management and College Governing Authority. At each step, feedback was taken into consideration, and this document now represents a very broad range of key stakeholder views.
The masterplan was developed in consultation with Quinn Architects Limerick, who the President thanked in addition to Mr Michael Keane, Vice-President Administration and Finance, and his team for their work on the plan. Masterplan 2042 can be viewed in full by clicking here.