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Balfour Beatty has been selected as preferred bidder for the Scottish Prison Service’s (SPS) HMP Highland project.

HMP Highland will be the first new prison in the Scottish Highlands for more than a century, serving the Highlands, Islands and Moray areas, holding some 200 offenders in purpose-designed accommodation.

Designed by BakerHicks, the building is carefully designed to reflect the flow of the River Ness, using the colours of the Highland scenery. The long winding wave building form through the site means that, from street level, the building can never be viewed in its entirety and is not visibly institutional or custodial in the architectural concept or design of the public facing elements.

Internally the focus has been on delivering good design in communal and service delivery areas for staff, visitors and prisoners which are modern, but also secure, safe and ordered.

Sustainability is also a major focus of the design, with energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions on site integral to the design in line with Scottish Government guidance on securing green recovery on the path to transitioning to net zero emissions by 2045.

Laura James, Head of Scotland at BakerHicks, says the company’s considerable experience and expertise in the custodial sector helped shape the design process: “We are proud of our continued work with SPS, helping them to achieve their objectives in delivering new and best-in-class prison facilities across the country.

“Our design team have been working on this project since its inception, and it is genuinely ground-breaking in terms of custodial design. This new style of prison creates an environment that helps aid rehabilitation, as well as being more inviting for visitors and family members. It is a far cry from the oppressive prison buildings of the past and I am excited to have the opportunity to have seen the building develop from its original concept right through to construction and completion.”

Hector MacAulay MBE, Managing Director, Balfour Beatty, also provided the following comment: “We are delighted to be engaged by SPS to work up the detailed design and delivery of the new HMP Highland. We will draw on our extensive expertise in Modern Methods of Construction and Decarbonisation to deliver this ground-breaking new facility.”

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