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Referendum 2014 Overview

Students will be asked to vote YES or NO to the following:

To introduce an Annual Student Levy of €67 to contribute to the development of:
1) an Arena extension including Climbing Wall
2) the cost of a needs analysis and design of a new Student Centre and
3) the upgrade of Maguire's pitches, the building of Handball Alleys and a hurling wall.


Project Overview:

 
1. An extension to the Sports Arena including the construction of a Climbing Wall, a 25m Pool with Diving facilities and expansion of studio facilities. See visuals below.

 
2. A needs analysis carried out among Students, Students Union and Student Services with a view to determining if there is a need for a new Students Centre and if so what it would look like and what facilities it should have.

 
3. An upgrade of Maguire's field to include Gravel Raft Pitches, An All Weather Pitch, Handball Alleys and a Hurling Wall. See visuals below.

Projects' Details


1) Arena Extension

 
An extension to the Sports Arena including the construction of a Climbing Wall, a 25m Pool with Diving facilities and expansion of studio facilities.
 

 


 

2) Student Centre Needs Analysis

 
The project comprises a needs analysis and design of a new Student Centre:
 

  • A taskforce comprising representatives of the student body, Students Union, the University and Campus Life Services will be set up to carry out a detailed needs analysis to establish the future requirements for Student Societies, Students Union, student social and support facilities.
     
  • The analysis will be undertaken by an external expert advisor who will undertake a wide-ranging process of consultation (i.e. Focus Groups, Surveys, Discussion Groups) with the student body to develop a brief for the design of a new Student Centre.
     
  • The taskforce will appoint a design team to design a new Student Centre based on the agreed design brief.
     
  • The design concept will be proposed to the student body and a referendum held to decide on proceeding with the project.
     

 


 

3) Maguire's Field Upgrade

 
An upgrade of Maguire's field to include Gravel Raft Pitches, An All Weather Pitch, Handball Alleys and a Hurling Wall.
 

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why are we running another referendum?
  2. Student Levy - The Power to do more!
  3. Where does the money from the Student Levy go?
  4. a) What are the costs associated with the 3 individual projects being proposed in the referendum?
  5. b) And what is the timeline for completion of each of those projects?
  6. Why change from Student Centre to Design Team?
  7. If the referendum is passed what effect will this have on the financing of other buildings? e.g. Library
  8. Why can't we fund a library extension with the levy?
  9. Why was the old PESS building shut down (climbing wall/diving pit) in the first place?
  10. Was the Students' Union pushing a 'yes' vote for the 2012 levy?
  11. The proposed Levy November 2012!
  12. What do the people "not involved" in the SU get?
  13. Will the CSIS people be moved?
  14. What is going in the Student Centre?
  15. Can we lower the fee at the Arena for students?
  16. Explain the pitches (difference between North Campus and Maguire's)!
  17. What is wrong with what we have now?
  18. What does EIB (European Investment Bank) announcement mean for referendum proposal?
  19. How does the Munster Rugby training facility affect our referendum?

 


Why are we running another referendum?

 
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.

 


 

Student Levy - The Power to do more!

 
The Student Levy is a mechanism to empower students to create a better student environment through the provision of facilities that they want.

 
The Student Levy gets more bang for its buck by building these facilities in partnership with the University.

 
The Student Levy and the University will fund the building of the Sports Facilities while the operational costs will be managed by the University.

 
The Student Levy, which has been used successfully in UL over the last two decades, is widely used to provide student facilities in other Universities.

 


 

Where does the money from the Student Levy go?

 
The Students' Union and their solicitor will negotiate a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the University. The MOU is a document which safeguards the students' interests and provides transparency on the finances as the project progresses from concept to design to occupation.

 


 

a) 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

 


 

b) And 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 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.

 


 

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.

 


 

Why can't we fund a library extension with the levy?

 
This was brought up at Student Council last semester where the Vice President Academic & Registrar of the University was present. His response was that students should not be expected to and will not be asked to fund an academic facility such as the library. The University is continuing to look for funding from the Government to fund the Library extension.

 


 

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 was the old PESS building shut down (climbing wall/diving pit) in the first place?

 
The PESS Building was not shut down but renovated and developed according to its academic program. For a long number of years the University wished to upgrade but the funding was not forthcoming from the government. In the initial stages it had a swimming pool which was removed to allow for more classroom space and this happened as the 50M pool came on line in the Arena. The Kayak Club store was lost as well, for example, and as part of that particular aspect the University of Limerick Boathouse dealt with that problem back in another referendum in 2003. The diving pit was a 4M pit and over a long number of years was becoming a health and safety issue as pieces of the concrete over the ceiling were cracking away and falling into the pit as it was so old. This issue was being raised since 2004 about the need for a new facility. The Outdoor Pursuits Climbing wall was perfectly fine as a facility but it had to be demolished to make way for the developments of the PESS academic program. The University through Buildings & Estates worked with the Club for 18 months from demolition to re-house the club in part of the old joinery building across from the UL Arena. It is not entirely suitable as it does not have the height required to promote what the clubs core activity is, which is mountain climbing. This was only ever intended as a temporary solution.

 


 

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.

 


 

The proposed Levy November 2012!

 
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. The proposed 2014 levy, of €67, may not increase without the approval of a further referendum.

 


 

What do the people "not involved" in the SU get?

 
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 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.

 


 

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.

 


 

What is going in the Student Centre?

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

 


 

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.

 


 

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.

 


 

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 40x20 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.

 


 

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.

 


 

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.

ULSU Referendum 2012

C&S Infrastructure Documents

Referendum for new Student Facilities
Thursday 15th November

The Proposals?


A New Student Centre

  • Large scale Student Entertainment / Gig Venue with Bar
  • Clubs and Societies rooms and offices
  • Students Union and other offices
  • Shops and other retail outlets
  • Cinema
  • Chillout/Games Rooms
  • Radio/broadcast facility
  • Reception and Visitor Information centre

 

An extended Arena Sports Centre

  • A new 25 metre pool with diving and sub aqua facilities
  • Weight Training Gyms
  • Climbing wall Hall
  • Squad rooms
  • Sauna and Steam rooms

 

Sports Pitches

  • High Spec fully drained gravel raft/sand carpet based grass pitches
  • Floodlit
  • Configured for Multi-use able to accommodate
    - Two full size GAA or 6 Soccer/Rugby,
    or
    - One full size GAA and three Soccer/Rugby

Images




 

 


 

 



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