The latest projected designs for South West College’s new Lough Erne Campus have been revealed, unveiling a new futuristic, maritime building, which the college have referred to as a ‘floating campus.’
The new eye catching designs, which once confirmed will be planned to open as early as September 2019, incorporate unprecedented, state-of-the-art facilities both on and in Lough Erne, including what will be Northern Ireland’s first underwater learning and teaching facilities.
Building on elements of the South West College’s current curriculum, the Lough Erne Campus will have a particular emphasis on the Colleges Sports Department, which will find new focus in water sports. The Lough Erne area already has a thriving reputation for angling and water-ski, with stages of the water-ski world championships held there annually since 2005. With the facilities provided, South West College expect to become a primary training facility for Olympic athletes both local and worldwide.
Other departments will also benefit from the conditions, with the colleges renowned catering department set to benefit from having Northern Ireland’s premium offshore fishing facility to avail of; while the College claim that underwater classrooms will provide what their research (see pictures) has shown to be the most efficient and effective learning conditions.
That this academic development comes on Lough Erne is only natural. The Annals of Ulster were written in the late 15th century on Belle Isle, an island in Upper Lough Erne, and one senior college official said it was wonderful to be bringing this academic prowess back to the area.
Paramount to the venture is the overwhelming opportunities that will come from state-of-the-art underwater research facilities. College officials said: ‘Lough Erne is a central part of the South West region. These new projected facilities will go a long way to help us understand such a significant part of our countries landscape, in a way that until recently would never have been thought possible.’
For full time students, there will be accommodation available on the floating campus, and full time residence will be encouraged; whereas land students, or ‘Landies’, will be able to travel to the campus via a modern ferry system.
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Detachable wings of the college will make for easy travel around the Lough and across its various outputs and rivers. Designers say the detachable north wing of the college will allow for ‘easy college day trips up the river, where students and staff will be allowed to float up towards Donegal at their convenience and in a timely and efficient manner.’
The whole move is in advance of the general idea that the world, as we know it, will move under water in the next twenty to thirty years. A spokesperson for the college said, ‘first it’s the campus, and the academic facilities, but eventually we’ll all be there. It’s pretty undeniable that this is the way the world is going, so we’re delighted to be at the forefront of it.’