Wales’ oldest university building to receive £2.1M refurbishment


The Saint David’s building at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s Lampeter campus has stood proudly among the rolling hills of Ceredigion for nearly 200 years.  Home to Wales’ first higher education institution; its iconic architecture is a familiar part of the landscape.

Lampeter Campus

Built between 1822 and 1827 to the designs of English architect and antiquary C R Cockerell, the Grade II* listed building has witness great change over the past two centuries. 

Now, as the University looks forward to celebrating its bicentenary in 2022, the building is set for a £2.1M refurbishment and modernisation plan to provide fit-for-purpose facilities for twenty-first century learning and teaching.

The refurbishment is being undertaken in partnership with the Chin Kung Multi-Cultural Educational Foundation.  The partnership has already seen the development of new provision delivered at Lampeter via the Academy of Sinology, including professional doctorate programmes and conferences as well as investment into the campus infrastructure.

The proposed construction project is 36 weeks, and will be undertaken by local contractor J&E Woodwork Ltd who are also subcontracting parts of the work to local electrical and plumbing companies.

The St David’s Building is a treasured part of the University estate and signifies the birthplace of higher education in Wales”, said Gwilym Dyfri Jones, Provost of the Lampeter campus. “I’m delighted that the refurbishment, whilst being sympathetic to its architectural heritage, will ensure that the facilities are commensurate with the needs of learning and teaching in today’s competitive higher education environment”.

“The University makes a valuable contribution to the region’s economy and I’m delighted that the refurbishment work will be undertaken by local suppliers, J & E Woodwork who are also ensuring that the supply chain provides work for companies in Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire”. 

Founded in 1969, family run, Lampeter based business J&E Woodworks Ltd are delighted to be appointed as Principal Contractors in support of the University’s Campus St David’s Building reconfiguration and refurbishment works.

Alan Thomas of J&E said: “We maintain a wide database of tried and trusted local suppliers and sub-contractors built up over many years and draw extensively on the relationships we have developed with them. By targeting local labour and local suppliers, we contribute to a sustainable community within the areas in which we work”. 

The St David’s building houses the campus’ reception, accommodation, conference facilities, Founders’ Library, Chapel and a range of multiple purpose meeting spaces.  It is used extensively to support the academic work of the University including international conferences and lectures and its architectural character with traditional quad and cloisters also makes it a popular venue for external clients. 

The Grade II* building comprises a quadrangle with four ranges that cross at the angles. An entrance tower is to the south and a T-shaped projection to the north. There are further extensions to the quadrangle, most notably to the north-west and south-east.

The refurbishment will include upgrading the current facilities to include en-suite accommodation as well as an enhanced library and multi-purpose spaces.