New Cavan Institute buildings earmarked for town centre
It’s expected any new campus for Cavan Institute will be built on the Cathedral Road in the county town.
Discussions are ongoing about the provision of a new campus for the college, which has seen major growth since its foundation in 1985. Ann Marie Lacey, director of Cavan Institute, told county councillors at their May monthly meeting that she expects Cathedral Road to host the new buildings. The college’s main campus is located at the town centre site. It’s been located there since the building opened in 2005.
“Cathedral Road is considered a better option for the new college. The first stage of the application is done. That will lead us on to the development of a business case for a new college.”
Discussions have been taking place between Cavan Institute, CMETB and the Department of Higher and Further Education on the plans. It’s understood representatives of the latter have visited Cavan to view potential sites.
“Most recently we had a visit from the Department of Higher Education last August. They looked at Cathedral Road, where we are in ETB owned premises. They viewed that as a better option or a better fit for the development of a new, purpose-built college.”
The move won support from some councillors following the presentation at last week’s meeting.
Cllr John Paul Feeley (FF) said his preference is for a new college to be located on Cathedral Road.
“It’s very important, given the fine building that is there, that the Government commitment of additional funding for buildings would be kept at that location into the future. It is town centre and we have Government advocating very strongly a town centre approach for development. That location does all of that.”
CMETB acquired the former Dún Uí Neill army barracks on the Dublin Road in Cavan for €1.25 million in 2012. That location had been expected to become the main campus for the college, mirroring the situation with Monaghan Institute.
Ind Cllr Shane P O’Reilly asked why the barracks site was not being considered.
“If you could give a bit of an indication into the use of the army facility here on the Dublin Road. What’s the story there? The public need to know exactly what is going on.”
It’s expected the barracks site will instead house some of Cavan Institute’s courses, rather than the whole campus. Courses such as music production, beauty and hairdressing, sports therapy and electrical and plumbing are to be located at the army barracks. Modular buildings worth €5 million are currently being installed at the site.
Ann Marie Lacey blamed Covid and students taking time out for a dramatic drop in the number of students enrolled in the college.
The Celt revealed last month that student numbers fell by over 500 between 2019 and 2021.
Speaking at the meeting, the Institute’s director said, while numbers have fallen in some courses, they’ve increased in others.
“Sometimes you can read items in the paper on numbers. The important thing to remember about the Institute is that numbers did drop a bit during the pandemic and I think that’s a lot to do with students accessing university and maybe taking another year out.
“What has happened in the Institute to counterbalance that is the regeneration and getting involved in other areas like traineeships and apprenticeships. While numbers in full-time courses might have dropped, they’ve actually gone up in part-time courses.”