by Maeve O’Sullivan
There has been speculation over the last few months among students, wondering when the construction of the new student building will be open. The O’Donnell & Twomey group were assigned the developmental project of the refurbishment of the historic Windle Medical building, one that had been a part of the UCC community for over 170 years.
With the relocation of medical studies to Brookfield, a new life was to be brought to the campus building. The Hub reaches the height of five floors and houses the offices of Careers Service, Disability Support Service, UCC Plus. Student Well-Being, Peer Support and the Student Experience Office.
Additionally, the college’s Clubs and Societies have relocated to the building, providing a bright space for students to engage with their extracurricular activities.
Speaking with Kayla Maher, Societies president 2019-2020, she had this to say about their new home.
‘’We are delighted to be in the centre of the campus life for both students and staff. Alongside the multiple services providers surrounding us, our presence is a positive one for student life. The goal for The Hub is to become a safe place for UCC students to engage with college life in a creative way.’’
Roots Café have also set up shop in The Hub. The initiative behind the café comes from the Cope Foundation as a training centre for service users. The staff, who have mild to moderate learning difficulties, will learn about the art of barista, cash handling and customer service skills. The coffee is provided from Java Republic, an Irish coffee company that sources fair trade varieties of coffee. In line with UCC’s Green Campus campaign, the café only serves customers with reusable coffee cups.
Points of focus within the new building include the Dr Dora Allman and Dr Lucy E Smith rooms, which overlook Cork city. The two doctors were the first female physicians to graduate in UCC in 1898. Dr. Dora Allman was the first female medical graduate of UCC and was the first woman to be appointed as Chief Medical Officer in a Mental Hospital in Ireland and Great Britain. Lucy Smith became Cork’s first female obstetrician as well as visiting physician to Cork Women’s Prison.
A new state-of-the-art radio station has been incorporated into the Hub, while a large multi-purpose event space, the Atrium, makes up the majority of the ground floor. The old anatomy lecture theatre has been transformed into an intimate 70-seater indoor amphitheatre, while a new public space between the Hub and the Quad will allow for outdoor student and community events.
The €17.5 million Hub was financed by the European Investment Bank. The building will be the most energy efficient on campus, and is fully accessible and is the location for the first Changing Places facility in Cork.