Balfour Beatty and Bam Construct have been shortlisted for the £11.7 million Kearsley Academy project in Bolton.
The two firms will go head to head for the first of 28 schemes worth a total of about £250m to go to the North and Midlands arm of the academies framework over the next 18 months.
Five other contractors submitted pre-qualification questionnaires for the Kearsley scheme, which will involve a complete rebuild, including a new sixth form college.
Balfour and Bam will now work up detailed bids for consideration by Bolton Council and academy sponsor Northern Education in August.
Bolton Council executive member for children’s services councillor Nick Peel said: “Both companies have a wealth of expertise and experience and both their bids were really impressive. We are now looking forward to going through the final plans and selecting a preferred bidder.”
The academy, formerly known as George Tomlinson School, will accommodate 950 pupils, 11 to 18 years old.