An extensive refurbishment project has transformed St John’s Innovation Centre in Cambridge.
St John’s Innovation Centre was established by St John’s College and offers advice, strategic consultancy and flexible accommodation to early stage knowledge-based companies. Located in the heart of the Greater Cambridge technology cluster, the centre was the first of its kind in Europe and has since become world-renowned for its success as a business incubator.
The centre offers six light and airy conference spaces, all of which are equipped with state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment – making the centre the ideal venue for all business events within the Cambridgeshire area.
Jeanette Butterfield, Conference Manager at the centre, commented:
“It’s great to see clients taking an active interest in the new rooms and the response has been excellent. The new catering menu, in particular, has received positive feedback and we look forward to welcoming new and old visitors to the building.”
The St John’s Innovation Centre buildings were constructed in 1987 and 1992 respectively and had not undergone any significant refurbishment works over the last twenty-five years. In consultation St John’s College, it was decided that the time was right to renovate the centre. Interestingly, the refurbishment project coincides with the 25th anniversary of the establishment of St John’s Innovation Centre.
Funded entirely by St John’s College, the £750,000 project has seen the refurbishment of all of the meeting rooms, conference rooms and lavatories. In addition, the majority of the staircases and corridors have been completely stripped out.
Each wing of the building has incorporated an innovative colour scheme that signals which part of the building the visitor is in, whilst sustainable features include motion-sensitive lighting and natural ventilation.
David Gill, Managing Director of St John’s Innovation Centre Limited, said:
“The centre is quite remarkable. Although the original design was created twenty-five years ago, a visitor could believe that it was built last year. Clearing out the features that have accumulated over the last twenty years and stripping back to the plain walls and furniture has made everywhere in the building seem so much larger.
“The interior design is spectacular and is focused around a scheme that is based on a variation of white, black and grey. This has made the building feel extremely calm and it has helped to promote a creative atmosphere in which there is a sense of still and the opportunity to concentrate on a difficult project.
“One of the largest challenges that contractor Rival 4 Limited had to face is the fact that the building remained in use during the entire construction phase. As a result, the contractors took on a lot of evening and weekend work in order to ensure that disruption to the day-to-day operation of the centre was kept to a minimum.
“We are currently in discussions with the college for the next phase of the project, with our overall aim being to keep upgrading the building in ways that make it more sustainable and cost effective.”
Following the opening of the conference suite in May, the main conference rooms will be opened by the founder of St John’s Innovation Centre, Dr Christopher Johnson.
As a regional centre of excellence, St John’s Innovation Centre supports high growth businesses across the region, particularly through the recent Coaching for High Growth and Understanding Finance for Business programmes. The centre is currently delivering Enterprising Fenland via a combination of workshops and is pleased to announce the Business Coaching for Growth programme, which commenced in the spring of 2012.
For more information on St John’s Innovation Centre, visit www.stjohns.co.uk