Topping-out ceremony held for flagship new 'woodland hospital'
A topping-out ceremony was recently held on the site of the new Heatherwood Hospital in Ascot, marking a key milestone in the construction project
Hospital bosses and contractors celebrated the completion of the main structure of a new hospital building that will provide state-of-the-art NHS services to patients in Berkshire and beyond.
A ‘topping-out' ceremony took place at the site of the new £98m Heatherwood Hospital, which has been designed by BDP Architects and is being built by Kier for Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust in Ascot.
The celebration, attended by builders, contractors and healthcare partners, marked a major milestone in the project, with the main structure completed barely a year since work began on the site.
The new NHS hospital will include six top-of-the-range operating theatres, a range of outpatient services, and up-to-date diagnostic equipment in a new building set in woodland.
Ascot has been home to a hospital at Heatherwood for almost a century, but with ageing facilities, and a growing need for investment, its long-term future was in doubt as recently as five years ago.
But Frimley Health's ambitious plan has seen a new building at the back of the current hospital site take shape while existing services remain fully operational.
Services are on track to transfer to the new building next year and the trust aims to double the number of patients visiting Heatherwood each year to 168,000 over the next decade.
Sean Woodhead, architect associate for international architecture firm, BDP, designers of the new Heatherwood Hospital, said: "Like the healthcare that will be on offer in the new hospital, we have taken a holistic approach to designing both the masterplan for the wider site and the hospital itself, ensuring wellbeing is at its heart for generations to come.
The new hospital has been designed to draw in the surrounding landscape
"The overall design draws in the landscape to maximise its links with nature, support recovery, and create a calm and natural environment for the offices, primary care facility, and the homes to come.
"Patient bedrooms will have views across the treetops and access to terraces; the café space will offer woodland views; and there will be a large and biodiverse pond area and nearby nature walks.
“Reaching the construction's highest point has given us a real sense of the hospital's connection with its stunning natural setting and the benefits that will bring for patients, staff and visitors alike."
Frimley Health chief executive, Neil Dardis, said: "Our board gave the green light just a year ago and it is remarkable how much progress has been made since then.
"It is so exciting to reach this milestone and to have the completion of the new hospital in sight.
“It will be among the best facilities of its kind in the NHS and we will finally have the facilities that our fantastic Heatherwood teams and the patients they care for deserve."
The new hospital will include:
The project team also includes construction consultant, Potter Raper; and planning consultant, Vail Williams.