Ulster University: Building firm behind Magee expansion enters administration

T & A Kernoghan
Image caption The firm has been operating for more than 25 years

An £11m expansion of the Ulster University's Magee campus has been halted after the construction company was placed into administration.

Work on the new teaching block in Londonderry began last year after being given the green light by Employment and Learning Minister Stephen Farry.

When finished, the building will include a 340-seat lecture theatre, 20 classrooms and a café.

T&A Kernoghan Limited said it was "profoundly disappointed".

Image caption The building will cover a floor space of almost 4,000 sq

The Newtownabbey based company has been operating for more than 25 years but has run into financial problems.

It said that upwards of 50 jobs could be lost.

In a statement, Ulster University said: "The university continues to manage the construction work under way to ensure the continued progress of the development of the new teaching block at our Magee campus."

The steel frame of the building on the Northland Road is in place, some underground pipes have been laid but workers from T&A Kernoghan are no longer on site.

Image copyright Lorcan Doherty
Image caption Undergraduate student numbers at Magee have been increased by 568 places in recent years

In April 2016, Minister Stephen Farry said the new teaching block would be an essential component of the Magee campus.

Image caption Some building tools and materials lay unopened and unused at the site

BDO Northern Ireland have been appointed as joint administrators over T&A Kernoghan Limited.

They confirmed to the BBC that "due to the extent of the company's financial difficulties, the joint administrators have been required to make all staff redundant and cease operations across the various building sites throughout the UK".

The new teaching block at Magee campus was expected to take two years to complete. It is unclear how long the project will be delayed.

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