Planning permission has been granted, by Galway Co. Council, for the 11,000m2, state of the art, marine research centre to be built for the Marine Institute in New Harbour, Rinville, Oranmore, Co. Galway. It will provide first-rate facilities that will enhance vital national marine research and development services. More than 140 people will work at the new headquarters, which has an estimated long-term economic benefit of €17 million per annum for Galway.
"I am committed to continued progress on the national marine research centre", said Mr Ahern, Minister for Communications Marine and Natural Resources. Speaking as he viewed the most recent model of the world class facility, he emphasised that the development is an important, strategic step that will underpin the dedication to develop Ireland as a centre of excellence for marine research as highlighted in the Programme for Government.
The latest concepts and innovations in office and laboratory design have been produced to meet specialist & international accreditation requirements and provide a safe and accessible working environment. A voluntary environmental impact assessment was prepared as part of the planning submission.
The design seeks to give value for money not just in terms of capital costs but also in terms of life cycle cost and it has achieved a blend between the building design and landscape. The laboratory element of the building is designed around a landscaped courtyard, while the support facilities element takes its curved shape from the swirling dynamics of water. Natural materials such as limestone, render, timber are proposed for reasons of site suitability, lifecycle costs and sustainability.
According to Peter Heffernan, Chief Executive at the Marine Institute, the rapid progress that has been made on the design and planning application is a credit to the OPW team working on this project. The same team has won both national and international architectural awards for previous public projects. "We are now on schedule to commence building in November and I am confident that we will be able to move into the new building in 2004", said Dr. Heffernan.