Latest on the fate of Old College announced this Thursday

Aberystwyth University Old College Photo - Tomos Nolan

Aberystwyth University Old College
Photo – Tomos Nolan

IN TWO DAYS Aberystwyth University will be playing host to the New Life for Old College Project Board, when they announce the latest updates in their bid to secure lottery funding for the redevelopment of the iconic Old College.

In December 2015 the University submitted its plans for the redevelopment of Old College to the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The submission to apply for £9.93 million towards the full project costs of £19.47 million was developed by the University along with the New Life for Old College Project Board, which brought together members of the University Council, University staff, and representatives from Ceredigion County Council, Aberystwyth Town Council, Aberystwyth Students’ Union and the Old Students Association.

The bid has also received the blessing of renowned Welsh artist Mary Lloyd Jones, who has created new works of art to celebrate and promote the rebirth of the iconic building.

Originally built as a hotel, Old College welcomed its first cohort of students in 1872 following a tremendous fundraising campaign across Wales to help buy the building, in order to establish within it the first University of Wales College.

A Grade I listed building, Old College is recognised as one of the UK’s most significant nineteenth-century buildings, in Gothic revival style.

The plans are designed to restore it to its former glory, and transform it into a thriving centre for heritage, learning, and enterprise for town and gown, attracting an audience nationwide and internationally. Works are expected to be completed in time for the University’s 150th anniversary in 2022.

The Project Board have a vision of what the ‘new’ Old College will be home to, including visitor experience that interprets the University’s heritage collections and archives through exhibitions, activities and events, art and music and performance and acts as a knowledge-exchange and learning hub for the University, schools, community and visitors.

Spaces will be available for local entrepreneurs to lease function rooms for conferences and performances, flexible teaching spaces, Welfare offices, and retail space with a focus on Welsh products.

Louise Jagger, Director of Development and Alumni Relations at Aberystwyth University, said:

“The work of The New Life for Old College Project Board has been informed by the input of the local community and we are delighted with the response received at the various meetings and functions held as part of the process of developing these exciting plans. These have helped us to identify needs and opportunities for re-purposing the building, and to inform our decision to open up over 75% of it to the public alongside student teaching and support facilities.”

“We want to encourage closer ‘town/gown’ relationships and to provide a fantastic facility for showcasing learning, research and enterprise opportunities that will inspire users and visitors and boost the economy.”

The public meeting takes place on Thursday 21 January 2016 from 17:30 in Old College, King Street, Aberystwyth, with all students and residents welcome to hear the latest updates. This will be the last in a series of public events held as part of the initial consultation prior to a final assessment visit by the Heritage Lottery Fund, in March 2016.

Further consultation will take place following the outcome of the Heritage Lottery bid, which is expected in the spring of 2016.