University announce intention to redevelop Old College

THE VICE-CHANCELLOR, April McMahon, has announced that the University will ask for formal proposals to redevelop Old College.

The historic listed building, which was purchased by the University in 1867, has been suffering from a lack of investment for many years.

McMahon described the move as “the first stage in realising our plans for a wonderful but challenging space”, and “an exciting step forward in our efforts” to secure the future of “one of our greatest assets”.

The outline involves Old College, Laura Place and Marine Terrace as the “heart of a new ‘cultural quarter’ for Aber”.

The study will also include University properties at 1, 9 and 10 Laura Place, which includes the Joseph Parry Hall, and Numbers 1 and 2 Marine Terrace, which for many years housed the University’s Medical Centre.

The University is to ask those submitting proposals to consider learning facilities, exhibition and performance space, a University shop and an “initial point of contact” for local businesses. It is thought that Old College will focus on postgraduate teaching.

Welsh Government Regeneration Minister Huw Lewis said: “The Old College is an iconic building in Aberystwyth and resonates with present and past students of the University. Its location in the centre of the town can provide a focal point to the area’s regeneration and the potential ideas put forward sound extremely exciting.”

Students, staff and the local community will be able to contribute ideas towards the project as part of the consultation process included in the feasibility study.

It is unclear how the redevelopment will be funded, who will submit proposals or how the relationship between the developer and the University will work.

The final feasibility study is expected to be presented to the University in March 2013. The tender project is jointly funded by the Welsh Government Aberystwyth Regeneration Area Fund and the University.