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Sir Robert in lead for Royal Welsh job

Sir Robert McAlpine is believed to be in the lead to win the prestigious contract to revamp and expand the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff.

The construction giant was up against rivals Bam Construct, Willmott Dixon and Carillion to the £22.5 million job, which is set to start on site at the end of the summer.

A source close to the job told Construction News: “The details of the contract are just being finalised now, with Davis Langdon acting as project manager on behalf of the client.”

The project will see the construction of a 450-seat concert hall, a 160-seat theatre, drama rehearsal spaces and an exhibition gallery.

Past students of the college have gone on to ply their trade in theatres, concert halls, films, TV and radio across the world. Famous alumni include Anthony Hopkins, Peter Gill and Michael Forrest.

Sir Robert McAlpine has a string of high-profile jobs under its belt, including the Cabot Circus shopping centre in Bristol, and the Emirates Stadium for Arsenal Football Club.

The Welsh College new build, scheduled to open in late 2010, will be situated on the college site to the front of the main Raymond Edwards Building. It will also include the parcel of land to the north of the car park, currently infested with Japanese knotweed.

There will be a new entrance to the college from North Road, which will lead to a public foyer with views of Bute Park. The foyer will link to the campus via a new arcade, which will act as the main artery for movement through the building as well as a gallery to showcase pupils’ work.

Passive systems for natural heating and cooling will be incorporated and the build will have a substantial steel element.

Once complete, the new drama wing and concert hall will act as one of three separate areas, and will also include the existing Bute Theatre.

When the shortlist was revealed in March, about 80 per cent of the funding for the project had been secured.

This included cash raised via the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, a grant of £10 million from the Welsh Assembly Government and £3.5 million from donors.

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