A £5.39million construction contract has been awarded for the development of a new research and innovation campus at Stromness, in Orkney.
The project is a joint venture by development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Orkney Islands Council (OIC), who have appointed Kirkwall-based R Clouston as the main contractor.
Work due to start next week will include refurbishing, updating and extending the Old Academy and former Stromness primary school buildings, as well as improving roads, paths and landscaping.
The 3.75-acre campus is intended to support the growth of existing research and innovation activity and the expansion of companies in Orkney’s marine renewables, energy and low carbon sector. It is also hoped it will attract additional commercial and academic research activities.
HIE is spending £4.65million on the project, including £1.48million of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) money. Orkney Islands Council is contributing £2million, which includes £500,000 of Scottish Government regeneration funding.
The Old Academy is already home to the European Marine Energy Centre, Heriot Watt University’s International Centre for Island Technology, environmental consultancy Aquatera and number of other businesses.
Graeme Harrison, HIE area manager in Orkney, said: “We are delighted to be awarding this substantial contract to create the research and innovation campus and welcome the fact that a local firm has been successful in tendering for the work.
“This is a significant step in the project and for our future business and academic infrastructure, the impacts of which will be felt across Orkney. This significant investment will support the growth of existing businesses and the creation of new ones.
“Crucially, it will provide more opportunities to attract and retain young people looking to live, work and study in Orkney. We look forward to working with the contractor and with Orkney Islands Council in bringing this important development to fruition.”
OIC leader James Stockan added: “The award of the construction contract is a key milestone in the development of the research and innovation campus and I am very pleased that an Orkney-based firm will be carrying out the work.
“This is a project of great significance for Stromness and our islands as a whole. It will result in a 21st century centre of excellence, creating new jobs and stimulating a broad range of research and business activity in Orkney.”