Several members of the College Board expressed their unease at proposals to place new premises for the College’s Rifle Club inside the new Oisín House complex during the last meeting of the board. Trinity News understands that the idea was described as “a liability”.
DU Rifle Club confirmed to Trinity News that their current premises are marked for demolition and publicly available planning documents for the new business school outline the demolition stage of the plan.
The plans say that “the existing Sports Hall (Luce Hall), the maintenance workshops and first floor WCs to the rear of Nos. 183- 188 Pearse Street and the Simon Perry engineering building” are all to be removed. The DU Rifle Club premises is currently located behind the Simon Perry building.
The current plan for Oisín House notes that the development will have 280 student bedrooms, facilities for the disability service and the health centre, as well as space for sports and recreational facilities.
According to a member of the board speaking on the condition of anonymity, the construction of the new business school on the grounds of Luce Hall and the Perry Building will see sports facilities currently situated there rehoused into the Oisín House development, including the current shooting range. Members of the board have expressed reservation over this idea, however the decision was made to proceed with planning which places the rifle range there, as it may not be commissioned as a rifle range if another suitable location can be found for it.
The anonymous board member said that the decision was difficult, because “no one wants to shut down the rifle club […] it has world-class athletes.” The source went on to say that individuals involved with the development have met with Trinity’s Sport Department, and DU Rifle Club say that they were also met by project members.
The planning application for Oisin House states that the development’s sports and recreational facilities will be spread across “1,074 sq.m gross floor area located at the 2 no. basement levels”. When viewing sections of the basement levels, a rectangular area 270 metres in length is labelled as “recreational facilities.” Squash and handball are amongst the sports which will be given space in the development, The disability service will be given space on the ground floor o
On 10 December, the deadline for lodging planning observations and objections against the project passed. Two objections from Trinity alumni were received by Dublin City Council, one stating that “the height and mass of the building are totally unacceptable in such close proximity to the Trinity College main campus”, with the other declaring the building “a monstrosity”, and threatening to “withdraw from Trinity alumni and fundraising activities if the project proceeds.”
Speaking about objections to the project the dean of students professor Kevin O’Kelly stated that “while two outside parties made comments we are confident we can address their concerns. It is particularly gratifying that no concerns were raised from the surrounding community.” He also commented on the town hall style meeting held by College earlier this year, but notes that “there was relatively short notice given so we will be having another one in January.” On 15 December O’Kelly and the project architect will be making a presentation to the Fellows on the progress of the development.
College plans to build full scale mock-ups of Oisin House accommodation units, which would comprise of a bedroom, a hallway, and living room and kitchen area. O’Kelly plans to have these models completed by early February in order to allow everyone interested to walk through and make observations. O’Kelly said that the coming months before that will see the design team meeting with the offices all of the groups who will be using Oisín House to ensure their specific technical needs are captured in the detailed design. These include the College offices responsible for accommodation, health, disability, sports and buildings.