Leading architects submit plans for £40m NHS hospital extension

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blueprints for a £40m extension at Sheffield Children’s Hospital have been revealed by NHS managers, with six options being put forward by some of the country’s leading architecture firms.

The hospital, which treats patients from across the region, hopes to have the project completed by 2015 and said that the scheme would provide three wards with 72 beds and a new outpatients’ department.

Sheffield Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has now assembled a panel of staff, parents and trust governors who will choose which scheme to move forward and which ones to reject. The trust is also inviting the public to examine the ideas, either at the hospital or on the internet and make any comment they feel will assist the panel.

A decision will be announced next month.

Simon Morritt, chief executive at the trust, said: “The designs we are displaying now are very exciting and we’re delighted to be embarking upon this project to extend our hospital and Trust for the future.

“The new design will be the face of our hospital over the years to come so choosing the correct concept is going to be very important.

“The final design must address specifics for us such as single room accommodation where a bed is also provided for a parent – these features will be key in improving patient care.”

The six firms shortlisted to take on the project after a public tender invitiation are Avanti Architects, BDP, Capita Symonds/HLM Architects, HKS, Llewelyn Davies Yeang and Swanke Hayden Connell.

Trust bosses said that the designs will be judged “blind” so that the panel does not have any knowledge of which firm created which design and chooses it purely on its merits.

The extension idea was first announced earlier this month, and the price tag at that time was expected be somewhere between £20m and £30m. It is now hoped that with the help of the Sheffield Children’s Hospital Charity. the £40m figure can be achieved, with the cost being split between the NHS and the charity.

The newly built extension will be joined to the hospital, creating a new entrance at the current main reception, and segregating what the trust called “patient and business traffic”.

The shortlisted architects have also been ordered to find a way of alleviating the notorious parking problems suffered by parents and families when they try and visit the site on Western Bank.

One of the firms of architects involved, which cannot be named because of the blind judging process, said its ideas would create a new identity for the hospital, which first opened in 1876.

They said: “The inspiring and welcoming new entrance, centred on a dramatic ‘play-tube’, visually symblises the importance of children within the hospital.

“The whole solution is tailored both to specific clinical requirements and to the needs of patients and their families.”

Professor Flora Samuels, head of the architectural department at the University of Sheffield, will be providing expert advice to the judging panel during the selection process.

Comments written by all architects involved and their designs are on display on B Floor of the hospital’s outpatient corridor. More plans and “digital fly-throughs” are also available for the public to haves a look at on the Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust website at www.sheffieldchildrens.nhs.uk

Mr Morritt added: “The designs put forward by the architects are all very different each bringing a unique element to their individual design.

“We hope that people will get behind our project, have a look at what our building could be like and leave comments about our future developments.”

Once a decision is made on the design, it is expected that work on the project will begin in the middle of next year.

martin.slack@ypn.co.uk