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Volume XX Issue 1 FREE

6th September 2011

Was Senator David Norris treated unfairly in his presidential bid? Turn to page 6 for our Head to Head debate.

Ever considered moving to Australia? Turn to page 13 for our first installment of ‘A Grad Down Under’.


Image: Jason Kennedy

By Jason Kennedy, News Editor

ONE of the head engineers behind the PESS buildings construction has said that rumours of excess damage caused by the work are both untrue and exaggerated. Buildings Engineer, Sean McDermott said that he is delighted with the work that has been done so far. Mr McDermott said that rumours that construction work on one of the campus’s oldest buildings did not cause flooding in the office of Professor of Exercise Science, Phil Jakeman; it didn’t create a crack on the building’s gym wall and that a support beam was

not knocked. He claimed that the crack in Professor Jakeman’s office was there long before construction work started. “There has been a leak in that office for five years now. It’s been causing us constant trouble. Phil Jakeman moved office during construction, but he is back in his office in the PESS building now. We’re still looking for a solution to that problem.” Mr McDermott added that there has been a crack in the gym wall before construction started at the beginning of the summer. “There has always been a crack in the wall, but construction probably didn’t help. There would have been a lot of vibrations that wouldn’t have helped the wall. We have been working with people who use the area

and have provided alternative space for them.” Mr McDermott claimed that the rumour that a supporting beam had been knocked during construction work is totally untrue. “I don’t know who said that, but if that happened the building would fall. That allegation is totally untrue. You know how this kind of thing gets around. It didn’t happen.” Mr McDermott did say that during the construction work the cables servicing the PESS building had been cut, resulting in all incoming and outgoing telephone services, network services and alarm systems being affected. He added that these effects were unavoidable. “You’ll appreciate the difficulty of doing construction work to the center section of the building while

maintaining both sides. All connections are up and running again now though.” Despite these allegations, Mr McDermott said that he was delighted with how the work is going. “We have 95 per cent of the demolition work finished by the start of term, which was our aim. Previously, there was no wheelchair access to the lecture hall and fire escapes were compliant, but not great. These will all have been fixed. Every day, structural engineers are up looking at the building. It’s being monitored very carefully.” In a statement issued to An Focal, Buildings and Estates say the project is well under way. “The University of Limerick is currently undertaking a building works project to reconfigure

the central core of the Physical Education & Sports Science Building (PESS Building). The development will comprise a computer laboratory, 150 seat lecture theatre, tutorial space, research and staff offices, study area, cafeteria and a sports hall. The project is well underway, with the original central core space now demolished. The re-constructed area is due to be completed by the start of the next academic year. Staff and students affected by the construction work have been accommodated in alternative locations on campus.” Phil Jakeman was unavailable for comment.

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