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O'Rourke wins college place


LAING O'Rourke has taken a major education contract in the north-east ? a £40 million deal to relocate Middlesbrough College.

The establishment is currently split across four campuses at Acklam, Kirby, Marton and Longlands. But the Middlesbrough College Relocation Project, managed by Turner & Townsend, will see new facilities built at Middlehaven on the edge of the town.

The 30,000 sq m complex will be built on cleared brownfield land and the old sites sold off. The move will mean all 16,000 students will be taught on the same site.

Amec had also been bidding for the contract, which was advertised in June with a price tag of £33 million. Laing O'Rourke began negotiations in the second stage of the tender process.

One source said: 'We heard that Laing O'Rourke and Amec were on the shortlist. But, as is often the way with two-stage tenders, we were never sure who we were up against.'

Another contractor said: 'I think Carillion was involved at some point as well as Balfour Beatty. I'm not sure if Kier wasn't in there as well.' HBG was also interested but failed to make the shortlist.

The college will join the 100 ha Middlehaven development, a waterfront quarter being brought back into use after years of being sliced in two by the A66 and a railway line. Architect Will Alsop has designed links under the road and over footbridges for access to hotels, restaurants and bars.

Over the next 20 years, 2,400 homes will be built at the site along with 75,000 sq m of office space, the first block of which has been completed.

Students could be able to gamble at their new campus as Mayor Ray Mallon, the former policeman who introduced a zero-tolerance policy to crime on the town's streets, is leading Middlesbrough's campaign for a supercasino. Work on the college will start next May and should be completed by February 2008.