The Board of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has given the go-ahead for the tendering of work which will prepare 89-acres of the Inverness Campus site for its future as a world class facility for the north of Scotland.
Works, scheduled to begin in the Spring of 2011, will provide infrastructure, essential services and will create the landscape for stakeholders developing academic institutions including Inverness College UHI, the Scottish Agricultural College and UHI Millennium Institute.
The HIE board approved up to £25million in September 2009 to deliver, over five years, the first phase of the development at Beechwood Farm. The masterplan for the Campus incorporates strong research, business and community elements including Phase IV of the Centre for Health Science, a social enterprise hotel and sports facilities.
HIE envisages that the site will be a premier business location for foreign investment in Scotland when fully developed. It has the capacity to support up to 6,000 jobs over the next 30 years, attract investment of up to £300 million, and generate more than £38m for the regional economy every year.
Inverness Campus Project Director, Ruaraidh MacNeil, commented: "This is a significant milestone in the development of the Campus. These initial works carry a responsibility for creating the infrastructure and setting out the future landscape of what will be a globally significant research and business hub in the Highlands and Islands. Its design should reflect the nature of our Highland environment while putting in place the practical needs of the people using it, the roads, pathways, landscaped parklands, services and a pedestrian and cycle bridge to offer easy access to and from the City centre."
He added: "The opportunities offered by the development of the Inverness Campus are far reaching. The benefits will impact to varying degrees across the HIE area. It will offer new opportunities in education, research, and business opportunities, and particularly will attract young people to the area or encourage others, who currently move away for study or to work, to stay in the region."
The tender process, which is seeking a major contractor to implement the design scheme, is expected to last six months. As is required by EU Procurement legislation there will be a European-wide open competitive tendering process.