Foyle will make way for two institutes

UNIVERSITIES Minister Dr Stephen Farry has confirmed that two new institutes proposed as part of Magee College’s expansion plans will be built on lands due to be vacated by Foyle and Londonderry College over the next two years.

Dr Stephen Farry stated: “I understand that the University plans to construct two new institutes on the land that will be vacated by Foyle and Londonderry College.

“The University has not requested any capital funding for this from my department.”

The proposals are to create a new Institute of Sustainable Technologies and an Institute of Health and Wellbeing, both of which will be located on the 30 acre Foyle College site.

He made the comments when pressed by Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin.

Last month the Sentinel reported how the Chair of the Foyle College Board of Governors thought a date of 2016 set by Dr Farry for the school’s proposed move to the Waterside conservative and that he expected to be on site as early as Autumn 2015.

Back in June Education Minister John O’Dowd finally announced funding for the long-awaited Foyle/Ebrington co-location project at Clooney.

Dr Farry last month hinted that Foyle would vacate its Duncreggan Road premises in 2016 to make way for the expansion for Magee, just in time for the school’s 400th anniversary in 2017.

But Robin Young, Chairman of the Foyle College Board, told the Sentinel he was sticking to what he told parents and pupils attending the school’s prizegiving recently: he expects to be on site in Clooney by Autumn 2015.

Now Dr Farry has revealed two institutes are to be constructed on the site of the Foyle school.

Dr Farry continued: “I have already allocated 322 additional undergraduate places to the University of Ulster which it has deployed at the Magee campus.

“I remain committed to monitoring student flows particularly in light of the differing tuition fee regimes within the UK and the impact that this may have on Northern Ireland students.”

He said he was prepared to seek funding from the Executive for more student places if there was evidence to suggest that more places are required in Northern Ireland.

“The higher education strategy, Graduating to Success, has given a commitment that the maximum student number will be reviewed. However, where a university deploys additional student places is wholly a matter for it,” he stated.