An £11 million extension to the University of Ulster’s Magee campus in Londonderry has received ministerial approval, ending uncertainty whether the project would be shelved due to funding cuts.
Employment and Learning Minister Stephen Farry announced that the development of the new teaching block had been given the go-ahead.
Mr Farry said the block was a “necessary important addition” to the campus, noting that undergraduate student numbers at Magee have increased by almost 570 in recent years.
Last year Mr Farry expressed concerns whether the project could be funded after the Executive cut his budget by millions of pounds.
But he delivered good news to the university on Thursday morning.
“This teaching block will be an essential component of the Magee campus and will meet the current and future needs of students and the university overall,” he said.
“It is vital that we have modern facilities in our higher education institutions to provide the best quality environment for teaching and research, and to ensure that in turn we are supporting our economy. This development is a strong signal of the importance of the Magee campus to the economy in the North West.”
The new teaching block will increase the capacity of the campus by 1,000 students, and will include a 340-seat lecture theatre.
Construction will begin later this year and will take two years.
Professor Alastair Adair, acting vice-chancellor of the university, said: “Today’s announcement is yet another positive step forward in the realisation of our strategic vision for Ulster University’s Magee campus.”