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Laing O'Rourke and Balfour Beatty in Coventry uni win

Laing O’Rourke and Balfour Beatty have been appointed as main contractors for part of a £160 million major development project at Coventry University.

Laing O’Rourke has been appointed as preferred contractor to build a £21 million new student enterprise building.

Balfour Beatty will build a new engineering and computing building under a £30 million deal, subject to final planning permission from the city council.

Work will start on the 8,500 sq m student enterprise building in August and is expected to be completed in August in 2010.

Work on the 14,000 sq m engineering enterprise building is expected to start in August to be completed in May 2011, if planning approval is granted.

The development plans also include a car park that has also yet to be granted planning approval.

The student enterprise building, which has been designed by Hawkins Brown and has won planning permission from the city council, will be four storeys high, facing on to University Square next to the new Herbert extension.

The new heart of the university will provide top class facilities for students and be the new home for the student union.

The external layer of the building will consist of glass walling arranged in bands.

Laing O’Rourke director John O’Brien said: “To be involved in creating the facility which will become the heart of the university is a huge privilege and continues our long standing association with the city of Coventry which began nearly 50 years ago.”

The new engineering and computing building, which has been designed by Arup Associates is going before the Coventry City Council’s planning committee later this month.

If the proposals get the go-ahead, the building will be located on the site of the former Gulson Road hospital next to the university’s library.

It will feature two L-shaped blocks representing science and nature and a green roof to maximise the use of natural daylight in order to keep carbon emissions low.

Balfour Beatty operations director Dave Tighe said: “We aim to bring best value not only to the new engineering and computing facilities being provided but also in contributing to the wider community and educational needs of Coventry.”