The official opening of the University of Nottingham’s new Cripps Health Centre — the largest single-site health centre in the country — is to take place in a ceremony on Monday 12 November.
Thanks to a transformational gift of £9m, the Cripps Foundation has been able to refresh its original vision to create a 21st-century healthcare and wellbeing facility for students, staff and the community, unrivalled within higher education.
Robert Cripps, Director of Philanthropy and third generation family representative of the Cripps Foundation, who will be in attendance for the opening ceremony, said:
“My family has had a relationship with the University of Nottingham which is moving into a fourth generation. My grandfather and father were attracted to the University because of its support for engineering. As the University has gone from strength to strength we are happy to renew that support for the next generations and provide the best medical support that is available in this country.
“What is most impressive is not just the new building, but the people who work within it and provide an unparalleled degree of excellence in their service to the University community.”
Speaking about the new flagship facility, Dr Paul Greatrix, University of Nottingham Registrar, said:
“The new Cripps Health Centre offers an exemplar facility for both our University community and for generations to come. By investing in these new modern facilities we are committed to further enhancing the quality of healthcare at the University and to ensure the wellbeing of our students and staff.
“None of this would have been possible without the generous donation from the Cripps Foundation which advances their already remarkable history of gift-giving and visionary philanthropy to the University.”
The Cripps legacy
Replacing the original Cripps Health Centre, opened in 1969 — which has delivered invaluable support for students and staff on campus for almost half a century — the pioneering facility was unlike any other at a university. The new generation Cripps Health Centre continues to reflect the philanthropic legacy which began with Cyril Cripps in 1949 and has progressed through generations of his family.
When it was first built, Cripps Health Centre had just under 1,500 students and staff on its records. It now boasts a list of 45,000 patients — the biggest GP register on one single site in the UK.
The Cripps family and Foundation have had an extraordinary impact on the University over many years. They have been one of the institution’s most generous donors — the £9m gift being the largest single gift donation from a private foundation in the University’s history — and have supported a range of buildings, including Cripps Hall, alongside Chairs in Engineering, establishing a tradition of philanthropy stretching more than 60 years.
All active practices from the former Cripps Centre have now relocated into the new facility, which is on the other side of Cripps Hill, where the original health centre was located. As a result of the added space and flexibility, the University has expanded its team to enable increased appointment availability and a wider range of services.
Daniel Hammersley, Chief Operating Officer for the University of Nottingham and University of Lincoln Health Services, said:
“This amazing new facility will allow us to continue to grow and develop our broad range of services over the coming years, ensuring we continue to offer an outstanding service to the University Community.”
The new facility offers a holistic approach to primary health and dental care with enhanced clinical consulting rooms, minor operations suites, a patient observation bay, physiotherapy areas, dentist treatment rooms, pharmacy and mental health suite, as well as training rooms and offices.
Student welfare services remain a priority at Cripps with the new-build providing appropriate accommodation for the University Mental Health Advisory Service, with space to bring in associate staff at busy times as needed, for example providing essential crisis services to the student community.
Claire Thompson, Head of Student Welfare, said:
“The space is much less clinical and more appropriate for staff to do one-to-one therapeutic work with service users. Environment plays a key part in helping people to feel safe and comfortable to discuss their difficulties.”
The new Health Centre has also incorporated medicinal and aromatherapy plants into the Courtyard Garden, with an area of Chinese medicinal planting.
Nottingham-based CPMG Architects has designed the University of Nottingham’s new Cripps Health Centre.
Nick Gregory, Director for CPMG, said:
“We’re incredibly proud to see this flagship centre for the University completed after years of anticipation. It’s now the largest healthcare facility of its kind in the UK yet it has a very human feel and scale.
“This centre allows us to combine two areas of our expertise – higher education and healthcare design. It’s a fantastic addition to the campus and to primary care provision in the city of Nottingham.
“The design complements the beautifully green campus of the University of Nottingham, with natural materials and a timeless palette externally and light and bright interiors fit for a modern healthcare facility.”
Engineering firm, Arup, provided civil, structural, mechanical and electrical engineering design services for the Centre.
John Read, Arup Office Leader in Nottingham, said:
“It has been fantastic to work with the University of Nottingham again to deliver the multidisciplinary engineering design of the largest single-site GP practice in the country. We have been working on buildings at the University for over 50 years and we are proud to continue this relationship with our work on the Cripps Health Centre.”
Example of design
Showcasing the new building as an exemplary design, in April this year, CPMG held a CPD (continuing professional development) afternoon for their new Graduate Junior Architects who were shown around the site and took part in a Q&A session with the contractors.
120 second year BArch Architecture students visited the new Cripps Health Centre site as part of their compulsory course module, designed to familiarise students with working on an active construction site.
Course leaders from the University’s Department of Architecture and the Built Environment were involved in the planning of the visits, in conjunction with build partners from CPMG and Interserve, giving the students opportunity to see the inception of the project through to the design and tender stages and key delivery of the project.