Following a tendering process conducted under EU procurement rules, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (CnES) has awarded the main works contract for the Lews Castle, Museum and Archive project to GRAHAM Construction.
The £8.5 million contract for phase two of the project will include a new museum and archive extension to the castle and repair and restoration works to the interior of the historic building.
The £13.5 million project is led by CnES and part funded by a number of partners including HIE which approved £1 million, towards the project.
Gordon Macdonald, Senior Development Manager for HIE, said: "This is a very exciting project which promises to develop the potential of Lews Castle as both a cultural and economic asset for Lewis and the Outer Hebrides. We are pleased that a contractor has been appointed and along with our colleagues in CnES and the Heritage Lottery Fund, we are delighted to be supporting these ambitious plans.”
The new centre will provide a hub for the local community and will also be a huge attraction to national and international visitors. Future phases of the project will include a unique tourism opportunity for a private operator and we look forward to seeing Lews Castle returned to its former glory as the heart of the Outer Hebrides."
CnES Leader, Angus Campbell, said: “This is a once in a generation project which will have very significant cultural, heritage and economic benefits for our island communities. The construction work will provide a boost to the local economy over the next two years and the project will also be a catalyst for further investment in and around the Castle and across the islands.”
Gary Holmes, regional director for GRAHAM Construction said: “Lews Castle is a cultural asset to the Western Isles and we are tremendously proud to be playing such a pivotal role in bringing it back into productive use.
“GRAHAM Construction has a policy of working with local suppliers and employs local labour wherever possible and we look forward to engaging with the construction industry in the area to explore opportunities on this high profile project.”
It is anticipated that construction work will start in August. The Museum and Archive is due to open to the public in July 2015.