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Foundation stone is laid as Knowledge Spa building begins to take shape

The foundation stone for the new multi-professional education, research and business development facility on the Royal Cornwall Hospital site, known as 'The Knowledge Spa', was laid today (9th June) by Chairman of the South West Regional Development Agency, Juliet Williams.

Juliet Williams, who was appointed South West RDA Chairman last December, is on a two-day trip to Cornwall which will include visits to Newlyn this afternoon and St Austell tomorrow.

Alongside the educational benefits, the Knowledge Spa is expected have a major impact on the local economy attracting upwards of 400 jobs and bringing in around £30 million into Cornwall within 5-10 years of its opening. Around 250 of the jobs will be created through research and business start-up activity which are expected to contribute £22 million to the local economy.

The Knowledge Spa will cost around £14 million to construct and is the result of a partnership between the NHS, the University of Plymouth, the Duchy Health Charity Limited, Cornwall County Council and others. The partnership has been greatly enhanced by a £2.5 million investment announced at the end of last year from the South West Regional Development Agency and the Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

As well as creating a centre for research and development and start-up facility for health-related businesses, the building will be home to the Cornwall campuses of the Peninsula Medical School (PMS) and the Institute of Health Studies (shortly to be known as the Faculty of Health and Social Work) of the University of Plymouth. It will also provide a base for centres for lifelong learning for health and social care staff, public access to information and learning resources such as health promotion and patient information.

Chairman of the South West Regional Development Agency, Juliet Williams, said: "The Knowledge Spa will bring huge long-term benefits to the South West economy by fostering close ties between education and business, building on the spirit of innovation for which our region is renowned. The South West RDA is committed to developing our knowledge economy which is why we are investing not only in this excellent new facility but also in the Combined Universities in Cornwall."

Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Objective One Partnership, said: "Objective One is about investing in Cornwall's future by providing our people and businesses with the opportunities, skills and facilities they need to prosper. The Knowledge Spa will achieve all these things and I'm confident it will make a lasting contribution to Cornwall's prosperity."

The Knowledge Spa building is the first phase of the Well Cornwall Project which aims to maximise the benefits for Cornwall from the establishment of the Peninsula Medical School. A subsequent phase will be the development of a science park with a medical emphasis to ensure that the research and business innovation taking place within the Knowledge Spa building can be further developed and exploited for the greatest economic benefit to Cornwall.

Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust, Chief Executive, Brian Milstead, said: "This is a major investment in Cornwall's future and will bring immense benefits to health care, particularly in terms of the recruitment and retention of staff, as well as being a catalyst to the economic regeneration of Cornwall."

The steel frame for the building is well under way and the foundation stone laying ceremony, which was kindly sponsored by the building contractor, Mowlem, marks the start of the next stage of construction. It has been designed by local architects Poynton Bradbury Wynter Cole and will be a landmark feature at the entrance to the Royal Cornwall Hospital site. It will be equipped with the latest technology in broadband information and communication will play a major role in providing students with access to the latest developments and cutting edge research around the world.

The Knowledge Spa will be managed by the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust and the building is due for completion ahead of the first students arriving in autumn 2004


Editor's notes:

European Regional Development Fund (ERDF):

ERDF is one of our four funds that make up the Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, which is making £314 million of investment available for developing the local economy between 2000 and 2006. ERDF exists to:

Help reduce the gap between development levels and living standards among the regions and the extent to which least-favoured regions are lagging behind.
Help redress the main regional imbalances in the European Community by participating in the development and structural adjustment of regions whose development is lagging behind, and the social conversion of regions.

For further information please contact:

Press & Public Relations Office
Royal Cornwall Hospital
Telephone: 01872 252934


Jason Clark
Communications Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Tel: 01872 241379
Fax: 01872 241388

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