New campus crèche to cost €1.6 million

FUNDING has been approved for the construction of a new crèche on campus, which is to be built adjacent to the existing Oakmount crèche. The new crèche will cost the university €1.6 million and funds of €1 million have been approved under the National Childcare Investment Programme 2006-2010, which is funded by the Government, through the National Development Plan 2007-2013.Student Centre manager, Dominic O'Keefe, who has been working on the project explained that “we’ve tendered the project out, 18 companies applied and we were successful. We have two companies selected and we’re now about to speak to both companies, to select the final one.” It is hoped that work can begin on the project in four weeks time, once a contractor is chosen.A previous plan to build a second crèche on the Thornfield site, which was located close to home of UCD President, Dr Hugh Brady, and has recently been exchanged in a land swap deal, was unsuccessful so a decision was made to develop the new crèche at the site of the Oakmount crèche. According to Mr O’ Keefe, he felt that “the best solution was, instead of having a duplication of management in two sites and a duplication of all the services, that we would put all our eggs in one basket and expand the existing crèche.”Mr O Keefe is confident that the university “could actually get more synergies out of the operation of the enlarged crèche, rather than having a duplication.” The new crèche was designed by ABA Architects and will be approximately 300 square metres in size. When construction is completed, the crèche will cater for over 100 children which is an increase on the original 55 childcare place available in the existing Oakmount crèche.The crèche will have features such as a stage for performances by the children, a large fish tank, a playground and a park, the ground of which will be made out of a soft material. The crèche is expected to be open weekdays for 50 weeks of the year and will cater for children between four months and eight years of age.Explaining that the crèche has been “custom built and custom designed”, Mr O’Keefe stated that “it’s all under the national childcare guidelines and approved by the Eastern Health Board.” Mr O’Keefe said he felt positive about the new development, adding that, he investigated “who were the primary users of the crèche are, the students and parents of kids on the campus”, and is confident that both crèches will be able to satisfy the demand for childcare on campus.