The completion of the Printing House Square project faces possible delays due to the coronavirus.
The on-campus accommodation complex, set to house 250 students, was expected to be completed this summer in time for the new academic year. However, following the government’s decision last Friday to halt all non-essential building work, construction sites on campus have been closed and it is unclear when they will reopen.
In an email statement to Trinity News, a college spokesperson confirmed that “all construction sites were closed at the point of notification from the government that they should close”. Trinity will continue to “take direction from the government” regarding its response to the Covid-19 crisis, they said.
“Delays to construction projects are possible,” the spokesperson confirmed, “but it is too early to speculate as to when reconstruction may recommence.”
Printing House Square’s construction has faced several setbacks. The accommodation complex was initially planned for completion in 2018, but concerns raised by An Taisce and An Bord Pleanála introduced delays.
A new completion date was then set for early last August, but was not achieved. Dean of Students Kevin O’Kelly told Trinity News last summer: “the construction sector in Dublin is very overheated and all projects are experiencing difficulty with the various trades.” The completion date was then revised to this July.
As well as providing six storeys of accommodation for students, Printing House Square will house a new Health Centre, the Disability Service, and sports facilities, including a rifle range, squash courts and a handball alley.
The building will be located on the former site of Oisin House and beside the Printing House, and will feature a courtyard that will serve as a new public entrance to campus.
Last summer, College launched an investigation into reports that workers on the Printing House Square site were receiving hourly pay €2 to €3 lower than the legal requirement. Workers protested in July against their low pay.
Printing House Square is one of several major construction projects ongoing in Trinity. Existing buildings on the site of the Martin Naughton Learning Foundry have been demolished to prepare for construction, but it is unclear whether this cessation of construction work halted progress on the site.
Trinity also has plans to provide 350 student beds in a new building at Trinity Hall, while College’s Strategic Plan lists a new Law School and creation of the Trinity St James’ Cancer Institute among their planned projects.