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Ionad Hiort, the community body behind the £7.3 million St Kilda Centre in Uig, are seeking a main contractor.

A notice has been published on the Public Contracts Scotland website in a bid to draw up a shortlist of around five potential contractors for the project.

Ionad Hiort was formed in Uig in 2010 as a charitable body to build a visitor centre on a 6.5-hectare site at Mangersta. It is planned for the world-class visitor centre to utilise innovative digital and remote access technologies to tell the story of St Kilda’s people and culture, preserving the fragile environment of St Kilda and recognising the unique indigenous Gaelic culture, natural and scenic assets.

It is estimated the building work will take around 15 months to complete. The deadline for tenders is Friday, December 22, with the contract expected to be awarded on Monday, January 8.

The design of the visitor centre has been under development since 2016.

The 660-square-metre visitor centre at Geodha Sgoilt will include an exhibition area and a viewing room, with an outlook over the Atlantic towards St. Kilda.

The centre’s design references St Kildan and North Atlantic architectural heritage. It will principally be a Gaelic centre and showcase digital and multimedia interpretation, immersive experiences, and performances. 

The centre will also provide access to St Kilda-related literature and research.

Part of the development includes environmental and wildlife interpretation via on-site pathways and World War Two heritage interpretation incorporated into upgraded extant wartime buildings.

An earlier design proposal for the visitor centre was granted in principle planning consent in 2019.  A new design team, comprising Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter and Dualchas Architects, was appointed in 2021. They developed a design for a larger visitor centre.