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21/09/2021

Purchase of Foyle College lands marks milestone in Magee University expansion

Ulster University - Magee campus. (Photo: Nigel McDowell/Ulster University)
Ulster University has confirmed the purchase of Foyle College lands in Derry which will allow for future development of the Magee campus. It was expected that Ulster University would buy lands at the Duncreggan Road site when Foyle College relocated to its £23.5m Limavady Road site last year, however, the deal has experienced delays. The local community and politicians are optimistic that this will pave the way for long-awaited expansion at the Magee Campus which has seen a drop in student numbers and courses cut in recent years rather than growth. In a statement to the Derry News at the weekend an Ulster University spokesperson confirmed that the deal included both the lands on the Duncreggan Road and playing fields opposite the old Foyle College junior school on the Northland Road. She added: “Ulster University has completed its purchase of the Foyle College lands, marking a milestone in the development and expansion opportunities for Magee campus. “The purchase follows the opening last year of the £11m state-of-the-art teaching centre at the heart of the Magee campus, which has already enhanced the vibrancy of campus life and paved the way for enhanced future capacity at Magee. “Options for the Foyle College lands will now be explored in line with the University’s plans for growth of the Magee campus and its wider estates strategy.” Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has welcomed the acquisition of additional land and says it is part of a wider growth plan. The Foyle MP said: "The expansion of Magee is one of the biggest priorities for the continued growth and development of Derry's economy. "That expansion has taken a major step forward with the transfer of the land at the site of the former Foyle College to the university.  This land will be allow for the continued expansion of Magee. "The key stakeholders involved have been working on the acquisition of this land for some time and I welcome the fact that it has now been completed. "I will also be convening a meeting of all parties to meet with the permanent secretary of the Department of Health to discuss the plans for the establishment of a medical school at Magee. "This is part of the wider plans for the growth and expansion of Magee which will provide more opportunities for young people and assist the development of a new, vibrant economy in the north west." Meanwhile, SDLP Councillor Sinead McLaughlin commented: "This is a very important milestone as it reaffirms Ulster University’s commitment to the further expansion of the Magee Campus. The growth and development of the higher education provision within the North West region remains a political priority for our party as the university is a key driver for growing a vibrant regional economy. "A key component of the University Growth Plan is the establishment of a Postgraduate Medical School. SDLP Leader, Colum Eastwood, has expressed his commitment to join a cross-party group to meet with the Permanent Secretary of the Department of Health to ensure that the Medical School gets approval to proceed before the end of May 2019 as this is a critical deadline for the first student intake in September 2020."

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