Old College construction company announced as final fundraising push launched
Presentation of the Old College key: Professor Elizabeth Treasure presents the Old College key to Mark Bowen, Managing Director of Andrew Scott Ltd in the company of Rachel Barwise, Aberystwyth University Students Union, Stephen Lawrence, Former President of Aberystwyth University Old Students Association and Jim O’Rourke, Old College Project Manager.
14 January 2022
Ambitious plans to bring new life to Aberystwyth University’s iconic Old College have taken a major step forward today, Friday 14 January 2022, with the announcement of the project’s principal building contractor.
Port Talbot based Andrew Scott Ltd will take on the challenge of transforming one of Wales’s outstanding Grade 1 listed buildings, and home to Wales’ first University College, into a major centre for learning, heritage, culture and enterprise.
The company will take over the site immediately and begin work on the project as soon as all necessary preparatory steps are completed.
The appointment of Andrew Scott Ltd marks the beginning of the construction phase on the project which will represent a £36m investment in the iconic Aberystwyth landmark.
Aberystwyth University Vice-chancellor, Professor Elizabeth Treasure said: “Today marks a hugely significant milestone as we realise our ambitious plans to bring new life to this iconic building and establish a major cultural and creative centre for Wales where diverse communities can engage with learning and heritage, share in discovery and prosper from enterprise.
“This is indeed a hugely important project for Aberystwyth – both for the University and the town, economically, socially and culturally. The vision has been supported by our partners and former students who have pledged significant funds to the project. Our fund raising will now enter a new phase, as important as ever, as part of what will very soon be a live construction project, re-energising our historic Old College.”
Mark Bowen, Managing Director of Andrew Scott Ltd, said: “We are exceptionally proud to be undertaking the historic restoration of the prestigious Old College in partnership with Aberystwyth University. As the original home for the University, the Old College is one of Wales’ most important cultural buildings and we are committed to ensuring its legacy is continued whilst bringing new life to the building.
“This project represents a landmark investment in Aberystwyth with a once in a lifetime opportunity to improve construction and heritage skills within the region, whilst maximising the scope for upskilling in green and sustainable technologies. As such, Andrew Scott Ltd are wholly committed to creating long-term sustainable employment opportunities for people living in Aberystwyth and the wider Ceredigion region by ensuring the project maximises the social impact of capital investment directly into the local community, via our social value policy of sustainable local procurement and employment.”
Construction work on the project is expected to be completed in the summer of 2024.
New Life for Old College
Once completed, the Old College will provide a major centre for learning, heritage, culture and enterprise in three themed zones: World of Knowledge, Culture and Community, and Enterprise and Innovation.
Inspired by the University’s motto, World of Knowledge will include a centre celebrating pioneering Science and Research, a University Museum, a Young People’s project to provide opportunities to boost skills and aspirations and wellbeing, a 24-7 student study centre and a cutting-edge cinema facility.
Traditionally the beating heart of the Old College, the Quad will provide the focus for the Community and Culture zone’s exhibition galleries that will feature curated displays from the University collections and touring exhibitions from major partners. This zone also includes the UK’s first Centre for Dialogue.
The Enterprise and Innovation zone will provide 12 Creative Business Units and communal spaces to encourage young entrepreneurs in creative and digital businesses, two fast growing sectors of major economic importance to west Wales.
There will also be a new public entrance through the Georgian Villas of 1 and 2 New Promenade, a new function room for up to 200 guests with magnificent views out over Cardigan Bay, and 4* hotel accommodation.
In all, the redevelopment will provide spaces for activities and events across 7 floors and 143 rooms, including 10 rooms with capacity ranging from 60 and up to 200 people, and is expected to attract 200,000 visitors annually.
The University has already secured the vast majority of the funding for the project, and the appointment of the construction company marks the launch of the Old College funding campaign’s final phase.
The project has been received significant financial backing from The National Lottery Heritage Fund along with funding from Welsh Government, the European Regional Development Fund, The National Lottery Community Fund, the Coastal Communities Fund, the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Wolfson Foundation, the Joy Welch Educational Charitable Trust, the Foyle Foundation and the Gwendoline and Margaret Davies Charity.
Over £1.2m has also been raised from generous donations by individuals and groups in response to the international Old College appeal, the University’s most ambitious appeal since it was founded in 1872.
The final phase of the appeal will run until the summer of 2024, and the funds raised will enable the University to realise the full potential of this ambitious and exciting project for the benefit of students, staff and the wider community.
Louise Jagger, Director of Development and Alumni Relations at Aberystwyth University said: “Further fundraising for the appeal remains crucial, and will continue right up to the reopening of the Old College. The support for the Old College appeal has been incredible, we are deeply grateful for the generosity of our community of alumni and friends from around the world. We would especially like to thank the Old Students’ Association, the Alumni Club of Malaysia and the Student Union for their support.
“Aberystwyth University was founded by philanthropic support and has grown into today’s thriving and ambitious institution as a result of nearly 150 years of support from around the world. Thanks to this continued support, the restoration of the Old College will cement its place in Welsh and UK heritage, and through its innovative design will produce educational, outreach, engagement, enterprise and research activities with far-reaching and vital public benefit.”
To accompany the final phase of the fund-raising campaign, the Old College team has produced a new video that features current and former students, and representatives from the community.
Speaking on the video, Bryn Jones, a community representative on the Old College Project Board said: “I can’t think of any other architectural building along this west coast that deserves more to be regenerated and reinvigorated. It will transform the town of Aberystwyth, not only for the students, but also for the wider community.”
The project has also received the support of Aberystwyth Students Union. Opportunities Officer Rachel Barwise said: “We are delighted to see the Old College project moving onto the next stage. Aberystwyth has welcomed generations of young people from all corners of the world to study here and become a part of our wonderful town and our community. It will be great to see the Old College return to being a hub for those students who live in the town, and the exciting possibilities it will offer a new generation of young people.”
Further information about how to contribute to the Old College Appeal is available online www.aber.ac.uk/appeal.
The Old College Key
To mark the awarding of the construction contract for the Old College project to Andrew Scott Ltd, Aberystwyth University has commissioned a key made of Welsh oak by Llandeilo based carpentry business Pedair Cainc, established by Aberystwyth University alumnus Geraint Edwards.
Geraint graduated from the Welsh and Celtic Studies Department in 2008 and was based in Old College during his time as a student. He is also a former President of UMCA - Undeb Myfyrwyr Cymraeg Aberystwyth.
Measuring just over a metre in length, the key features the skyline of the Old College cut as notches into the blade, and the University crest on the head.
The key represents the handover of the site to Andrew Scott Ltd for the construction phase of the project. It will be presented back to the University to mark the completion of the construction work.