Future Plans

Old College and seafront

Aberystwyth University is working on exciting plans to transform Old College into a vibrant heritage and cultural centre which will attract local people as well as visitors from far and wide.

The proposals would see this iconic building on Aberystwyth’s popular promenade take on a new lease of life as an exhibition centre, a place of learning and a hub for creative business start-ups.

The plans include creating five distinctive spaces inside Old College to showcase:

Enjoyment and Learning for All: The Quad; Café and Community Rooms

Showcasing Welsh Culture and Creativity: Main Hall and adjoining Galleries

Journeys in our Past and Present: New University Museum and Performance Space

Explorations at the Edge of Science: An Interactive Space and Science Centre

Building Shared Futures: Creative Enterprise Facilities

A major Welsh art exhibition will be staged every summer, in a joint initiative with the National Library of Wales.

Science workshops for children, families and learners of all ages will feature and a visit to the original Professor Snape’s Victorian laboratory will be a must.

Archive images, fascinating documents, antique furniture and artefacts tracing the story of Aberystwyth University over the past 150 years will be on show as part of a unique museum collection.

There will be space too for 12 artist studios, 12 units for new and small businesses, and a well-equipped Makerspace with a large workshop for designing and developing ideas.

Other attractions will include a contemporary seafront café and gift shop selling goods sourced from Wales.

The aim is to complete the refurbishment in time for Aberystwyth University’s 150th anniversary in 2022.

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

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 cost of the refurbishment has been estimated at £22m and in July 2017, the Heritage Lottery Fund announced that it had earmarked £10.5m for the redevelopment project.

You can find out more about the HLF announcement and the restoration proposals by reading some of the news stories we've published so far: