CONTRACTS have been signed for the first phase of the CIT Arena.
The first phase, which is a two-storey multi-purpose sports arena at its Bishopstown campus, is expected to cost in the region of €13 million.
Griffin Brothers Contracting Ltd., a family run firm based in Castleisland, Kerry, won the contract for this phase of the project.
The arena is set to be a standalone building located on one of the already existing all-weather pitches, and will include eight sports courts, fitness studios, a health and fitness facility, and dressing rooms.
Aside from sporting use, when complete, the building is expected to be used for conventions, exams, exhibitions and conferring ceremonies.
When the project was announced in early 2019, the college had set a target of having the building complete by November 2020, however it may now be delayed somewhat due to Covid-19.
A spokesperson for Cork Institute of Technology told: “Contracts have been signed for the first phase for the CIT Arena and it is hoped that sod turning will happen when things return to ‘normal.’ The value of the first phase is approx €13 million.”
Alongside this project, plans are in place for CIT and Athletics Ireland to develop a new €12.3m indoor high-performance and community sports facility, which will include a track.
An application was made in mid-2019 to expand on the CIT Arena plans to the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport Large Scale Infrastructure Fund (LLSIF) fund.
The Athletics Ireland extension is set to provide an indoor running track, pole vault and jump facilities.
Athletics Ireland and Cork Institute of Technology were provisionally awarded €9.22 million to support the development of the joint facility in January of this year.
Hamish Adams, CEO of Athletics Ireland toldthat it will all merge into one large facility when it’s finished, but this first phase is a CIT project.
“Phase two of the project will be building on the side of that - the indoor athletics facility and indoor athletics track,” Mr Adams said.
“It’s definitely a positive that this project is commencing, and we’re moving everything forward,” he added.
However, Mr Adams said that the second phase of the development is still under review by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, despite the provisional €9.22 million allocation.
“In the last couple of weeks we received further information from the Department, that because it’s a project of over €5 million in value, it has to go through another level of scrutiny,” Mr Adams explained.
“The funds were announced provisionally, which was great news. Now we go to the next step which is a round of assessments on the project in a multi- criteria assessment, in terms of it all stacking up.
“It's not gone into an economic appraisal. It’s still in the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, but it goes into a strategic research and analysis division. It’s a huge amount of money, and we have to to justify the value that will be provided by the project,” he added.
The overall facility, incorporating both phases, will cost in the region of €25 million when completed.
“It will be amazing for the Cork region. I know it’s a high-performance project, but it’s also a community project. You have a large student population who need better facilities than what is on-site. There is also huge usage on the current track facility already.
“Most of the activity in the Cork region takes place there,” Mr Adams said.