Since 1975 - Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor
When DWS closed in 1975, we all wondered what would become of the school and hoped the buildings would not fall into disrepair and ruin. Fortunately, Gwynedd County Council decided to purchase the building for the Education Authority and Coleg Meirionnydd, the college of Further Education, was moved there from its original site, near Llwyn, on the Bala Road.
The college - now called Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor- has certainly been a great asset to the local community. During 1993, all the sixth forms were moved from the secondary schools and pupils were offered their A level courses at the college. There were also vocational courses - in health and child care studies, hairdressing, catering, business studies, construction, engineering and agriculture.
The students, who travel from all over Merioneth and Dwyfor have the choice of many academic and vocational courses, some leading to higher education, others to apprenticeships and training programmes in industry and business. Many local businesses, in particular those in tourism and construction, have benefited greatly from the skills taught to the students.
Many reading this will wonder how the old DWS as we knew it, has changed. The main college entrance is now near the old gym, with a new staircase leading to the first floor. The tennis courts and the hockey field have long since gone. The college engineering department is situated in front of what used to be Staff House [Trem Hyfryd]. There is a link building, along and beyond the site of the old laundry, which houses many different departments - Health Studies and Child Care, Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy, Special Needs, as well as various classrooms and the main Admin office. Many of the old class rooms in the main building are the same, except, of course, there are computers everywhere. The gym is now the college library and a new training restaurant has been built near the old Chemistry Lab.
The catering department trains students for the hotels and restaurants both locally and further afield.
The school bridge is still there and this is thanks to a number of local people who fought against its threatened demise a few years ago. It is still considered the gateway to Dolgellau, but for Health and Safety reasons, it is not in use. The footpaths no longer lead to Penycoed, as the tennis courts and hockey pitch are no longer there.