THREE firms are vying for a £15 million deal to build two student residence blocks at the University of Bath.
Cowlin, Kier and HBG have been given until October 11 to return bids for the deal, which will see a new court-yard style development built at the university's Claver ton campus.
The campus overlooks the South Cotswolds area of outstanding natural beauty and university officials have stressed that the new blocks should aestheticaly fit into the surroundings.
The building works will be accompanied by a range of landscape features, including tree planting, improvements to habitat for wildlife and repairs to the old dry stone boundary wall.
One bidder said: 'We are hoping to find out about a winner by November and get cracking after that.'
Designed by the Yeovil office of Architects Design Partnership, the scheme will see a total of 358 bedrooms arranged in groups to form self-catering flats, along with dedicated postgraduate blocks and flats for resident tutors.
The work is part of a larger revamp of the university's facilities.
A university spokeswoman said: 'We are in the process of a major redevelopment programme to improve facilities at the university.
'We are redeveloping not only student accommodation but also a new research building, upgrade works on the library and many improvements to buildings on the campus.'
If planning permission is approved, the new halls of residence are set to be completed in September 2008.