Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Goodbye Pantycelyn Halls of Residence?

I read with interest, this BBC News article a few days ago about the future of Aberystwyth University's Welsh language Hall of Residence, Pantycelyn.

As I mentioned in a previous blog post here about my formative experiences in Aberystwyth University, Pantycelyn Hall and the time that I spent there is one that I look back on with great fondness.

Be it the cleaners, the students or the staff, there was always a great community spirit in Pantycelyn in the 2 years that I lived there (2000-2002) and for me, it had an atmosphere and an identity that could not be replicated in any of the other Halls of Residence on campus.

Pantylceyn Hall Opened in 1951

The plans now, as have been openly discussed for a few years, are to upgrade the facilities available for students in the University with the building of a 'new' Pantycelyn on the Clarach Road near the current student village, Pentre Jane Morgan. The costing for the development is estimated at between £40m and £45m, and could start as early as autumn 2012.

So, it opens up the distinct possibility, indeed probabilty, that having opened in 1951 and having housed Prince Charles for one term in 1969 before becoming a Welsh language designated hall in 1974, that this grand old building may soon be closing it's doors to student for the last time after 70 years.

There's talk that it may be converted into office space for University staff so it will likely remain an University asset. But if in the near future, it does indeed close down from serving as a Halls of Residence to primarily Welsh-based students, it will mark the end of a significant chapter in Welsh cultural history.

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