Ruthin School to convert 18th Century inn

Work is due to start next month on the conversion of a hotel into student accommodation for the independent day and boarding school in North Wales.

Project manager Powell Williams has appointed J Mills Contractors to refurbish the Ye Olde Anchor Inn into a boarding house for 30 upper sixth-form students as part of a £1.5m investment by Ruthin School.

The school bought the 12,500 sq ft building at the end of 2013, following its closure as a hotel in 2012. The building is located in the town centre on the corner of Rhos Street and Llanrhydd Road, near to the school entrance.

Powell Williams partner Martin Hunt initially provided the school with the acquisition survey and budgets for the conversion, before obtaining planning consent and change of use requirements, and managed the design and tender process.

Hunt said: "This is a landmark building within Ruthin and this project will see it revived and given a new lease of life as school boarding accommodation, securing its future. The building has been chopped and changed and extended over the years, not always sympathetically, so our plan is to bring it up to modern standard, improve its energy efficiency and give it a clean, crisp uncluttered feel, creating a lovely place for the students to live."

Having been used as a hotel for many years, the upstairs internal layout will be retained to create 22 en-suite bedrooms. Downstairs will be a further eight student rooms, kitchen, dining area and common room. A separate three-bedroom apartment with kitchen and living space is also being created, with private garden, to provide accommodation for the housemaster's family.

First built in 1742, little of the original interior remains but the exposed oak beams will be kept. Out-of-date additions, including 1980s windows and conservatory, will be removed. Windows on the two front elevations will be replaced with sash style UPVC.

Externally, the black-and-white painted façade will be replaced with a modern silicone render. It is hoped the works will be completed by the end of May to coincide with Ruthin School's Annual Prize Giving celebration.

Toby Belfield, principal of the school, added: "The student population at Ruthin School is growing rapidly and we are in need of new boarding facilities. The inn had been empty for some time and was in danger of becoming an eyesore, so our acquisition provided the perfect opportunity to secure new accommodation and revitalise the building."

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