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Four swotting for place at university

Contracts - MIDDLESEX

BRUNEL University will pick the winner next month of a £60 million scheme to build a student accommodation block.

The deal is part of a wider construction programme to improve teaching facilities and accommodation for the university's 13,000 students at the Uxbridge site.

This latest work will involve demolishing the 648-room Isambard Flats and building a 1,400-room block up to five storeys high.

It will feature a common room, en-suite bathrooms and 40 twin-bed studio f lats.

Bowmer & Kirkland, Laing O'Rourke, Galliford Try and Norwest Holst have all picked up tenders for the deal - known as phase six. Work is expected to start in September. Bowmer & Kirkland, Laing O'Rourke and Galliford Try will be particularly hopeful as they have completed or are coming to the end of contracts at the site.

Laing O'Rourke finished the £25 million phase four accommodation last year, while Bowmer & Kirkland is currently on site carrying out the phase five accommodation deal. And in May a £10 million School of Health Sciences and Social Care building built by O'Rourke was opened.

Galliford Try previously won a £7 million deal to build an indoor athletics facility and refurbish a sports centre.

Brunel's sports facilities have attracted the likes of Olympic gold medallists rower James Cracknell and boxer Audley Harrison to study at the University.

Student accommodation apart, Pierse is believed to be favourite to bag an extension deal for the Wilfred Brown building. One rival said: 'We haven't got it. It looks like it might have gone to Pierse.'

The four-storey extension will house research and teaching facilities for the School of Engineering and Design. The building will also include a large atrium, exhibition space, a shop and a council chamber.

The deals are all part of Brunel University's £250 million Masterplan development programme, which has transformed the campus with a mix of new build and refurbishment work. Mace is the project manager for the majority of the programme.

Other work has seen improvements to the lecture theatre, a multimedia centre, research facilities and the student union.