Aberystwyth University statement on Pantycelyn delay:
The ambitious refurbishment of Pantycelyn hall of residence is one of the University’s priority capital projects and we have been working hard to deliver it within the intended timetable.
However, it has become clear following further surveys and detailed discussions with architects and contractors that the challenges of redeveloping this Grade 2 listed building mean the original aim of reopening the building in September 2019 is not achievable.
To allow the work to be carried out sympathetically, to a high standard and on budget, the first students will now move into their rooms in September 2020.
The University realises this news will be disappointing to those who want to experience life in Pantycelyn at the earliest opportunity and apologises for the delay. There have been unforeseen pressures on the timetable, including the need to include a comprehensive sprinkler system in the plans.
When it does reopen in 2020 after refurbishment, this iconic building will offer quality contemporary, en-suite rooms for 200 students in a Welsh-medium environment, along with offices for Aberystwyth’s Welsh students’ union UMCA, a refectory and attractive social spaces for use by students, staff and the local community.
The University is pleased to report that the project has already reached a series of significant milestones. Internal and external planning permissions have been approved, and there is ongoing liaison with CADW and Ceredigion County Council planning officers. A £12m funding package is in place, with a generous £5m grant from Welsh Government. A full and thorough procurement process has been carried out in order to appoint external contractors, and a University Project Manager is in post who has expertise in managing quality student accommodation. A series of enabling works are also underway.
For the 2019-2020 academic year, students can choose to join our vibrant community of Welsh-speakers and learners in designated accommodation in Pantycelyn-Penbryn or Fferm Penglais, with the opportunity of moving to Pantycelyn in September 2020.
The University will keep all those who are interested in the transformation of Pantycelyn informed of progress. We look forward to seeing this exciting project develop fully and for Pantycelyn to become a focal point once more for Welsh speaking life in Aberystwyth and beyond.
Pantycelyn Project Board
Gwerfyl Pierce Jones, Chair of the Pantycelyn Project Board which has strategic oversight of the project said: “The Board was extremely disappointed to hear about the delay. The Board, however, accepts that the University is fully committed to reopening Pantycelyn and the funding package is in place. The Board has also received the personal assurance of the Vice Chancellor that the refurbishment will be fully completed by September 2020, and to the highest standard”.
Anna Wyn Jones, President of Aberystwyth’s Welsh Students’ Union UMCA, said: “This news is a big disappointment for UMCA as everyone had expected to return to the hall in September 2019. However, we want to emphasise that Pantycelyn will re-open, and that the vibrant community of Welsh speaking students in Aber continues. It is essential now that students are able to move in September 2020 and as a union, we will be working with the Project Board and the University to ensure this happens.”