FIVE architect companies have been shortlisted to design a new “collaborative centre” at Inverness campus to be shared by Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the University of the Highlands and Islands.
The 215-acre campus is being developed as a location for business, learning and community activities in the east of the city.
Architects were invited to express an interest in tendering to design the new shared centre and, after a Pre-Qualification Questionnaire, five companies have been invited to tender for the work.
They are: Boswell Mitchell & Johnston Ltd, Holmes Miller, Page\Park Architects, Sheppard Robson and The Manser Practice Architects.
The building, to be called the Enterprise and Research Centre, is described as “a unique opportunity to co-locate the region’s economic and community development agency with a University”.
The joint venture could include shared office accommodation, teaching, research and laboratory facilities and an innovative Science Academy.
The university plans to locate several new activities at the centre which will complement the new Inverness College UHI building already under construction at Inverness Campus, as well as serve as a base on the campus for the other colleges and research institutions in the university’s partnership.
The building will become a centre for research in the region, potentially housing amongst others - a life sciences research facility; a learning and teaching academy, and new facilities to provide training and accreditation for professionals in the oil and gas industry.
A prospective facility for research and consultancy services available through Scotland’s Rural College could mean that at an early stage Inverness Campus may become home to two higher education institutions.
HIE is looking for new office space after successfully attracting Capgemini to create 500 new jobs at Cowan House, HIE’s current location in Inverness.
HIE is currently considering other potential sites in the city as an interim base. No decision on where this will be has yet been made but Capgemini will have full occupancy of Cowan House by June 2014.