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Contract awarded for former Edinburgh infirmary insulation work

An enabling works contract has been awarded as part of the project to transform the former Edinburgh Royal Infirmary into a facility for Edinburgh University.

Sir Robert McAlpine has been given the £3.6 million contract to take out and replace old insulation made of asbestos, as well as work to demolish the old cellars and foundations, fix the roof and other preparatory work. 

The transformation of the building will eventually see it turned into a new teaching and learning space with 230,000 sq ft of floorspace. 65,000 sq ft of this will be created through the construction of two new infill buildings on the courtyards between the west and east wards of the old hospital. 

In addition, the gate on the Lauriston place side will be replaced with a new entrance square. 

The transformation of the old hospital is part of a much wider and larger scheme to transform the Quartermile area, although this has had to be done within  certain constraints as the location sits on the edge of the Edinburgh New Town, in a Unesco world heritage site by the parklands. 

While nine of the buildings in the project area being listed, this has meant significant renovation in some cases. However, several new structures have also been built, with 2,000 apartments completed by 2015. More apartments are now being added to this, with the remaining space being used up. 

This combination was emphasised by the Foster + Partners summary of the site, which stated: "New construction is combined with the selective refurbishment of the historic buildings, with the new woven carefully into the grain of the old. The development provides housing, office space, a five-star hotel, restaurants, cafés and shops. 

"The apartment buildings are located at the quieter edges of the site, while offices and shops are concentrated in the centre."