Hub construction will begin next summer

'The New DCU' sign outside the Hub. Credit: Chai Brady

The estimated €14m student hub build will begin between July and August 2016 according to Students’ Union president Kim Sweeney, although there’s confusion surrounding the chosen architect.

Sweeney named MOLA Architecture as the selected company. However, Michael O’Carroll, the director of the company, was unsure it had been decided.

‘We’ve arranged a provisional meeting with the students in two weeks but that depends on an official decision, I will get a letter when the standstill period is over,’ he said.

MOLA has built several buildings across the DCU campus, most recently the nanotechnology building.

The new hub will cater for St Pats and Mater Dei students. This has added additional challenges to the planning the centre.

‘Aaron and Kenneth did a lot, but because of the incorporation we have to consider the extra 4,000 students to make it future proof,” said Sweeney in reference to the efforts of her predecessors as SU president.

There has been extensive planning by the SU in relation to sourcing the best ideas. The Sabbatical team travelled to universities in England to get information about what could work.

‘We went over to universities in the UK, which was really nice because they have really well-established student unions’, said Sweeney.

‘We got an idea of what we want, but also what we don’t want. The negative points were actually more beneficial. We were in Bristol, Bath, and Cardiff and visited five universities.’

Ideas such as having a glass front to the building on the sports centre side and moving the park gate to face the new entrance have been put forward.

New multi-functional rooms are thought to be the best way to use the new space provided. A room for relaxation is being planned following suggestions from long distance commuters.

Many students that voted on helping finance the construction in the referendum will never experience the new hub as undergraduates. Students volunteered to contribute €8m to the project, which will take 18 months to complete.

Words and image: Chaitanya Brady

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