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O'Rourke pips Brunel rivals

CONTRACTS - EGHAM

LAING O'Rourke has bagged a £20 million contract to build student accommodation for Royal Holloway University in Surrey.

The news is a timely fillip for the firm having beaten two of its three rivals for a much larger deal at Brunel University in north-west London.

For the Surrey scheme, Laing O'Rourke beat fellow Brunel bidders Norwest Holst and Galliford Try, which originally tendered the deal as Morrison, plus a fourth contender, Leadbitter.

The scheme will see 472 flats built on the Egham campus in blocks varying from three to six storeys. These will replace the existing Athlone and Cameron buildings and is the plan known as the 'New Halls' project.

Included in the New Halls redevelopment will be a complete upgrade to the catering, social and reception facilities currently at the site.

Architect Stride Treglown has worked on the plans to build the accommodation in an environmentally friendly way. Each building will feature a planted rooftop, which will ref lect the surrounding woodland area.

The proposed development follows the college's 10-year masterplan, with outline planning permission for the scheme granted by Runnymede Borough Council in 2002.

Last year work was completed on the first stage of the overhaul which saw the Gowar and Wedderburn student halls completely refurbished.

Other schemes in the plan include a new school of management and a state of the art lecture theatre with conference facilities.

The entire scheme is due to be completed in the next four years, with an estimated value of £100 million. Another 10-year plan is then set to be drawn up to improve the remaining facilities on the Surrey campus.

A university spokeswoman said: 'We are investing millions of pounds to upgrade all our facilities and turn the university into a state of the art education hub.'

Along with Bowmer & Kirkland, Laing O'Rourke, Norwest Holst and Galliford Try are due to return tenders next Friday for a £60 million deal to replace the current Isambard accommodation block at Brunel University.

A winner is due to be announced next month.