Student management

Anger as student center plan scrapped by Maynooth University – Highland Radio

Donegal students who had helped develop a student center at Maynooth University were outraged after the project suddenly withdrew.

A student levy of €150 was introduced seven years ago to build a student center which will house the Students’ Union and a student activity centre.

However, the university confirmed in an email to students that the project was not proceeding, citing technical issues and rising costs.

In a statement, the university says it will work in partnership with Maynooth Students’ Union to provide students with additional spaces for informal learning and meeting.

Anna Rose Travers is a former student union vice president for student life.

She spoke to Greg Hughes on today’s Nine til Noon………..


Statement from Maynooth University

Maynooth University has unfortunately announced that the construction of a new student center project has been halted, following a decision by the university’s governing authority. The Student Center project has been negatively impacted by rapidly escalating costs, linked to technical construction issues as well as hyperinflation.

The University shares our students’ disappointment, and we reassure students and alumni that the student levy fund will not be affected by this decision, and that fund funds will not be lost due to contract termination.

The student levy has been in place since 1992, with classes of students contributing annually to a fund for the development of student facilities from which future students will benefit. The fee is and will remain reserved for student facility projects. In recent years the levy has funded projects such as sports, student facilities and an extension to the Maynooth Students’ Union (MSU) building, and will continue to do so as a long-term solution to the student center project is reviewed and processed.

As a public sector institution, Maynooth University is a steward of public funds and we are bound by the rules of the Public Sector Expenditure Code and procurement legislation, under the Expenditure Code public authorities, the Capital Works Management Framework and the European Union (Award of Public Authority Contracts) Regulations 2016. These include a requirement that “any price increase must not exceed 50% of the value of the original contract. For the reasons given above, the fact that the costs of the last project already exceeded 50% of the initial contract was a key factor for the decision of the Regulatory Authority.

Maynooth University, in partnership with Maynooth Students’ Union, remains committed to providing students with the additional informal learning and gathering spaces that are so important to a vibrant campus experience. In the coming weeks and months, the University will be funding significant additional social spaces, meeting pods, seating, furniture and other infrastructure across Maynooth University campus buildings.

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Important facts to note

While we understand and share the students’ disappointment, the students’ union has been involved in this process throughout, as they have seats on the governance authority and the project board, which requires a commitment to good governance.

When the students approved the increase in the levy to its current level of €150 per year (i.e. an annual increase of €12.50 per year over four years), it was not contingent on this specific student center project . Together, the Students’ Union and the University have considered several different project plans ranging from expansions of different sizes and locations over the past few years. Given the national landscape in terms of escalating costs, Covid and technical issues on site, these aspects are beyond our control. However, we are committed to reviewing plans for student facilities in the medium and long term, as we know how vital informal learning and meeting are to the student experience.

In the short term, the University is funding several additional student spaces and facility improvements include:

    • Additional social spaces for student use
    • Additional study spaces
    • « Meeting pods for student meetings
    • Improved furniture in existing spaces
    • Additional parking near the Phénix
    • New bus terminus next to Phoenix
    • New outdoor gym equipment next to Courtyard Apartments