Pat de Brún, UCDSU President, told the College Tribune that he anticipates that the new Student Centre will open to members of the public in June or July. He was unable to state an exact date for the completion of the project.
The state of the art project contains new facilities intended to suit various aspects of life across UCD. The facility to the forefront of the new centre is the “50 metre pool” according to de Brún.
The pool has the capability of being divided up into smaller pools. The international governing body of swimming, FINA, endorses the pool itself, as does the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI). The same company that designed the pool tank for the 1996 Atlantic Olympics have designed the pool tank in the new Student Centre. Accompanying the pool is a “comprehensive gym and various other leisure facilities including a steam room and sauna.” A dancing hall is also included.
On the non-sporting side of things de Brún gives acclaim to the debating chamber, which he says “looks fantastic.” The new media suite is also in the final phases of construction. The suite will include a Film studio, editing suite and newsroom for the College Television network (CTN). It will also include new and bigger production and administrative offices for student media.
The radio pod within the centre is to be primarily used for Belfield FM however, de Brún says that it isn’t technically theirs and will be available for use by other college mediums. Due to the passing of the new Student Union constitution, Belfield FM is no longer constitutionally provided for.
The centre also possesses entertainment services such a fully developed 100-seat cinema and a drama theatre.
The new development is going to provide further eating and drinking facilities for students. The Forum bar is to be the new student bar and will run in conjunction with the current student bar. According to de Brún, there has traditionally been two bars on campus and the Forum bar is being established to restore that tradition. A new restaurant will also be established. This restaurant is not currently included in the tender agreement that saw Kylemore take over the majority of on-campus food facilities, however, it will legally eventually have to go out to tender.
De Brún strongly believes that these new amenities will not make the current Student Centre redundant. “The important thing to note about the new building is that it is an extension. The sports centre, the current student centre and the new student centre are all going to be attached. A student can walk in at one end by Astra Hall and walk out the other end by the indoor sporting facilities” says De Brún. He feels that a room like Astra Hall won’t be replaced by the new facilities and he stresses that the new development is simply in place to provide extra services to the students of UCD.