University plans to convert 163-year-old former synagogue into modern music centre

An artist's impression of what the building could look like.

Nottingham Trent University has submitted plans to Nottingham City Council to convert a 163-year-old former synagogue into a venue for students’ degree ceremonies and a music centre.

The university submitted an application to the authority on June 14 after purchasing the former Shakespeare Street Synagogue in January, where the Nottingham Hebrew Congregation was formerly based.

Notts TV previously reported the university bought the listed building to host graduation ceremonies, called The University Hall, and it is thought the first ceremonies July 2018 if the plans are approved by the authority.

Ceremonies have been held at the Royal Concert Hall since 1983.

They take place in the winter and summer each year and it is thought the summer ceremonies in 2018 will be the first held at the new site.

The university has since clarified its plans, saying it hopes to build a new foyer at the front of the chapel, facing Shakespeare Street, which will be opened up with the replacement of solid screens with glass.

The former synagogue, on Shakespeare Street, could host students’ graduation ceremonies.

The building was developed in 1854 and the university plans to demolish the rear extension built in 1976, to replace it with a modern extension – creating a Music Centre and dining facility.

The Music Centre will provide dance and music studios with practice rooms.

The university also plans to build a new stained glass window at the front of the building, featuring the university’s crest.

Steve Denton, the university’s chief operating officer, said: “NTU is the ideal guardian for this building and will ensure its long term care.

“We have proved our sensitive and award-winning approach to restoring important buildings with the transformation of 50 Shakespeare Street and our iconic Arkwright Building [opposite].”

If plans are approved, the building will also host lectures delivered by guest speakers, part of the university’s Distinguished Lecture series.

Mr Denton added: “NTU prides itself on offering a personalised student experience and The University Hall will help to deliver that for our graduation ceremonies.”

The deadline for plans to be approved by the city council is Wednesday, August 9.

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