A project of Yes 2016 Leave A Legacy


Whats Involved?

  • The construction of a brand new centre for students,
  • The renovation of Maguire’s training pitches, two new multi-purpose, all-weather pitches,
  • A climbing wall,
  • A handball alley,
  • A 25m diving pool
  • The restoration of one particular area of the University’s indoor sport’s facilities.


New Student Centre

  • A new, welcoming and inviting student centre will be a place that encourages interaction between students, a place to fully engage with university life. The new Ul Student Life will be a place to chill out and a social centre in the campus which creates a sense of ownership among students. The inclusion of new meeting areas will allow students hold events within the UL Student Life, which will be able to cater for 200 – 300 people, from class rep meetings to large society meetings.
  • Space for recharging phones and laptops
  • Located in the centre of campus
  • Welcoming space and transparent
  • Meeting spaces for clubs and societies
  • Rooms for group projects
  • Sensory Garden
  • Sustainable
  • Radio/Multimedia Room
  • Terrace

The location of the proposed new student centre will be centrally located along one of the primary pedestrian routes across the campus.
Consideration will be given to the co-location of the new centre with existing student facilities on campus.
It is important that the proposed centre establishes a powerful focal point of student life on campus and integral to the overall role of the University in firstly attracting and more importantly retaining students on campus.

Take a look at what your new student centre could look like.

Upgrade of Maguires Field (Now known as Maguires Pitches)

Click through the images of Maguires and check out our video below.



Sports Arena Extension This Includes:

  • Climbing Wall, a 25x10m
  • Swimming/Diving Pool with 1m and 3m Diving Boards to a depth of 4m which also includes a floating floor
  • Martial Arts Room with club storage facilities
  • Elite Weight Training Area
  • Development of an individual Group Fitness Zone area.

A movement begin in 2008 when Pa O’Brien President of the day and the student officer team of Killian Burke and Darragh Hearne took that famous photo in Maguires Field to start off a monumental campaign. Their goal was to improve facilities for the Students of UL.

Referundums 2012 & 2014

Prior to to the sucessful campaign of Vote Yes 2016 Leave a Legacy. There was two previous referundums where the new proposed facilities were in 2012 and in 2014. One of the stumbeling blocks in the previous two referndums was the levy fee required to be contributed by students.

Over 60% were in favour of the 2014 proposal Over 60% of students were in favour of the previous proposal. As such, we felt we were obliged to conduct a survey on what students who voted no were unhappy with, rather than ignore the majority who were in favour. We have incorporated their views into a new proposal. This has resulted in the replacement of the Student Centre with a Design Team for a Student Centre, and a reduction in levy cost from €130 to €67.

The proposed levy in November 2012 included an incremental increase when the completed building became open for use. This was due to the fact that this increase in the student levy would contribute to the running costs of the gig venue. The University were not going to build such a large venue and run the risk of it costing the Universities core budget funding and as such the additional €20 was to cover the operational costs of the venue. However, the referendum this time is for the provision of the stated Sports facilities and the design only of a new Student Centre. The University have agreed that operational costs of the sporting facilities will be for their account. The provision of a new Student Centre will be decided by a future referendum and operational costs will depend on what facilities the new student centre provides.

Referundum 2016

Leave a Legacy Vote Yes 2016

On Wednesday April 13, 2016, 78.75% of students voted in favour of the new student facilities, in conjunction with the introduction of a staggered levy, which will be used in the future to further develop and finish student projects.

The estimated cost of the completed project is €28.59m, of which €15.76m will be covered by the student levy. The University will cover the remaining 45% of the capital cost. The University will also cover 100% of the maintenance costs. The 20 year expenditure will be estimated at €12m and is expected to be covered by the university.

The cost of the new levy came into place in 2017 and the cost is €36 annually. This will be increased to €90 for the 2019/20 academic year and will increase thereafter increase by €2 per academic year.

The capital project will include the construction of a brand new centre for students, the renovation of Maguire’s training pitches, two new multi-purpose, all-weather pitches, a climbing wall, handball alley, 25m diving pool and a restoration of one particular area of the University’s indoor sport’s facilities.

‘Leave a Legacy’ is the campaign by which the above investment will become known.

The first project in the campaign completed is, the Maguires Fields development, Priority will be given to student usage for recreational and competition purposes. UL Sport to book facilities to generate revenue at the other times, to support maintenance of the facilities.

Students were asked to vote YES to the introduction of an annual levy for a maximum number of years which will contribute to the development of a number of student projects. If more than 15% of students eligible to vote turn out and a majority of 50% plus 1 vote YES then the levy is introduced and the projects go ahead

The levy commenced on a graduated basis in September 2017.  Students will pay €36 in AY2017-18 and AY2018-19, i.e. 40% of the levy. The full levy, €90, will come into effect in AY2019-20. Thereafter a €2 increment will apply each year to reflect inflation.

The levy is costed to remain in place for 20 years or less, will end once the total cost of the project is paid for.

In the referendum of 2016 Students were asked to vote YES to the following:

To introduce an Annual Student Levy to contribute to the development of:

  1. The design and construction of a new Student Centre.
  2. New and enhanced sports facilities


How does the Munster Rugby training facility affect our referendum?

The Munster facility does not have any effect on the referendum. The facility being built for Munster Rugby is entirely separate and has no effect on the student levy.

What does EIB (European Investment Bank) announcement mean for referendum proposal?

The funding for the project is based on a long term loan. The Levy will be used to repay this loan over a period of 20 years. UL have secured a long term loan facility from the EIB, part of which will be used to fund this project, of which a portion of will be repaid by the levy.

EIB loan funding represents the best value loan finance available in Ireland. The financial benefit of these favourable terms is passed onto the students through a lower levy.

What is wrong with what we have now?

The Student Centre was designed in the 90’s. 14 years after it was occupied in 2000 it simply does not meet the needs of the Students’ Union today for a student body that has grown hugely in that time and places a lot more demand for services, support, welfare, entertainments, student governance and C&S. ULSU Staff are currently relocated into meeting rooms as designated office space, the staff canteen is unsuitable for the current staffing level of ULSU, there are not enough meeting rooms to meet the needs of the various student groups and there is almost no storage space which in very simple terms cost the Students’ Union to store company files off campus as just one example.

Student groups such as societies are now faced with charges by the University to book rooms for their activities if they fall at the weekend. A dedicated purpose built Student Centre for the students of today and planning for the students of the future is very necessary. The Students’ Union should also have an ability in the future to generate funding beyond the capitation received from the University and incentives such as second hand books shops, tickets sales, events, merchandise will have much more potential which in turn allows ULSU to re-invest back into the services for the whole Student Body.

See previous answers on sports facilities.

With regards to the Handball Club, they do not have any facility to train specific to their sport, they do get accommodated in the PESS building with “one wall” but have no side walls. They have to leave campus as well and train in Limerick City and surrounding area’s which despite their success rate has hampered their development. The two 40×20 courts being suggested are at an International standard and will allow for more handball enthusiasts to take up the sport and train on campus in a more student conscious manner.

Explain the pitches (difference between North Campus and Maguire’s)!

There are actually 3 sets of playing surfaces now in UL:

The North Campus, being the newest, is run by the University Arena/sports Department on a self-funding basis.

The “10 Acres” are the playing fields used to host competitive games, Intervarsities and the like. They are used in during the summer for tournaments e.g. The Kennedy Cup and Games such as the Special Olympics. Maguire’s is the training facility behind the “10 Acres” – it was intended like all sports facilities that you train in one area of UL and play your matches on another. Maguire’s has major issues with the quality of the surface and its ability to be used in the winter months with inclement weather and reduced grass growth.

As of 3 years ago the sub standard set of lights that the student clubs used along once side of Maguire’s were knocked down in a storm and never replaced. This had a huge impact on the promotion of student sports as the “clocks go back” and light is no longer available from roughly speaking Week 5 of Semester 1 until Week 5 of Semester 2, the peak time of the calendar for student sports. The net impact is UL Clubs have to pay to either train elsewhere and this puts pressure on students to raise more money, leave the campus and in doing so also suffer from reduced memberships/participation rates.

Can we lower the fee at the Arena for students?

The remit of the Arena is to run on a self-funding basis. Membership and ‘pay as you go’ fees directly support the running and capital costs, including a €5 million loan, of the sports facilities. The objective is to keep the fees as low as possible and spread the responsibility with the public paying a much higher fee for membership. Based on current operations the fee for students cannot be lowered.

Other Universities e.g. UCD and UCC include membership for all students at a higher levy rate, in the case of UCD that is over €200 per year but this has limitations, such as no student access during peak hour usage by students.

What is going in the Student Centre?

The facilities to be provided will be determined by a wide-ranging consultation with the student body.

Will the CSIS people be moved?

No. Unlike the previous referendum, there is no location decided for a new Student Centre. If it is decided by this referendum to design one, then this will be started from fresh, with no predetermined outcome or site location.


IF the referendum is passed all students will have an opportunity to:

  • Be Involved and Influence the decision about what goes into a new Student Centre.
  • To decide whether or not to proceed with a new Student Centre

The Student Body as a whole will benefit in a variety of other ways from the events and entertainments, as well as the all of the other services on offer. A new Student Centre shaped and designed around the needs of the current Student Body can be designed to meet more of the students needs. It also allows for the growth and development of the Students’ Union into the future, whose primary focus is service delivery to the students of UL whose population is constantly growing.

Was the Students’ Union pushing a ‘yes’ vote for the 2012 levy?

The Students’ Union has two democratic structures that its takes instruction from and direction on with regards to a whole host of issues from policies, finances and governance. In the case of the then forum Class Representative Council and Clubs & Societies Council, both mandated the Students’ Union Executive and its Sabbatical Officers to support a yes campaign. This time around the intention is to promote voting to the Student Body. This will not preclude those individual entities who are relying on new facilities from doing their utmost to promote a ‘yes’ vote, however the Students’ Union will be supporting an information campaign.

Every registered student is a member of the Students’ Union. If you buy a ticket to a ULSU event, you are engaging with the Students’ Union. If you purchase a bus ticket from reception, you are engaging with the Students’ Union. If you play a game of pool in the SU Common Room, you are engaging with the Students’ Union. If you print your notes in the SU, you are engaging with the Students’ Union. If you are involved in a Club or Society, you are engaging with the Students’ Union. If you have looked for advice or support from, or spoken with, the Academic or Welfare Officer, you are engaging with the Students’ Union.

As such, this levy provides you with an opportunity to enhance the community and the campus through the provision of additional facilities. This is the same as any community campaigning for a new youth centre, soccer field, school, or swimming pool – not everybody will avail of all the opportunities being campaigned for but it adds to the quality of life for those living in those area’s it is the same in the University. With regards to the Pitches, Handball alleys, Climbing Wall and 25M pool it will benefit over 2,500+ members of Student Clubs alone.

If the referendum is passed what effect will this have on the financing of other buildings? e.g. Library

The developing of the facilities put forward in the referendum will not affect any other campus developments as the funding for each of these developments comes from different sources. The University continues to refurbish and upgrade existing facilities such as the PESS building, science labs etc. Additionally, the Schrodinger building is scheduled for a major refurbishment this summer. Again, these will have no bearing on the finances for the proposed projects in this referendum.


Why change from Student Centre to Design Team?

During the debate for the referendum in November 2012 there was a lot of ambiguity in relation to the Student Centre. The conceptualised drawings were taken as the final approved plan and this contributed to all sorts of confusion on cinema’s and nightclubs which were incorrect. ULSU and UL have learned from this – the last student survey on student needs was back in 2009 and obviously the current Student Body has different needs as well.

The proposal in this referendum is to start the process from scratch by analysing current student requirements and preferences. It is only after input from the students that a design and location would be looked at.

What is the timeline for completion of each of those projects?

The best estimates are as follows based on starting all the required processes starting immediately in April 2014 the University would be confident of the dates below but would seek to improve on them wherever possible.

  • 25M Pool: 22 months – Jan 2016
  • Gymnasia/Studio Re-Configuration: 22 months – Jan 2016 *
  • Climbing Wall and Handball Centre: 25 months – Apr 2016
  • All weather pitch and Hurling Wall: 9 months & 7 months respectively – Jan 15 & Nov 14
  • Other pitches: 17 months (pitch grass has to rest and somewhat dependant on weather – frost/inclement rain – but estimate start of term AY15) – Sept 15

* Munster Rugby have to be able to occupy their own new Building before work can commence on the re-configuration of space which they currently use in the UL Arena which is why this timeline is particularly long.

What are the costs associated with the 3 individual projects being proposed in the referendum?

This is the financial breakdown of the 3 Projects which is a total of €16.54 Million and the students would be paying 66% of these costs through the student levy as several of these projects are very much student led requests which ULSU have negotiated with the University for inclusion and are predominantly designated student sport specific facilities i.e. Climbing Wall, Hand Ball Courts and the Maguire’s Upgrade. The balance would be met by the University through an EIB loan. The levy is planned to run along the EIB loan period, this is 20 years, however, with a rising number of students and the projects being estimated on the higher side of costs (they must go to tender if voted in favour) there is a good chance the levy will be done before this. This has happened in the past, for example the Boathouse levy (€72) was due to finish in 2015, however the final year it was charged to students was the beginning of the academic term in 2012.

  • Maguire’s & Handball Alley – €5.2m
  • Arena Extension (Pool, Gymnasia/Studio Re-Configuration, Climbing Wall) – €10.8m
  • Consultation / research / needs analysis process among students, students union and student services and design for a new Student Centre – €540k



Images and documents have built up for over 11 years to get to this stage of the project here are some early drawings and documents.