Qatar has awarded the first World Cup stadium construction contract to a joint venture of Belgium’s Six Construct and the local Midmac Contracting Company.

The estimated $300m contract involves upgrading the existing Khalifa Stadium and increasing the seating capacity of the stadium to 60,000, from the current 45,000. The 24-month contract will also include the renovation of the museum at the surrounding Khalifa Sports City.

The consultant is Lebanon’s Dar al-Handasah. The client is Aspire Academy for Sports Excellence.

Khalifa Stadium has been upgraded before. In 2003, Midmac was awarded an estimated $85m contract that involved expanding Khalifa stadium for the 2006 Asian games. That 11-month contract added about 18,000 seats.

Doha is planning to spend $4bn on building nine new stadiums and expanding its existing Al-Rayyan, and Al-Gharafa stadiums as well as Khalifa Stadium.

The new Lusail Iconic stadium is the largest arena planned. It will be able to hold more than 86,000 people and will be used for the opening and closing matches. The capacity of the other eight stadiums that will be built for the tournament will range from 43,500 to 47,500.

The capacities of the Al-Rayyan and Al-Gharafa stadiums will be increased to accommodate 45,000 sporting fans.

Consultants are being appointed for the new stadiums. In February this year, Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy appointed the US-based Aecom as project manager and Denmark’s Ramboll as design consultant for the Al-Rayyan stadium scheme.

The stadium will seat about 40,000 people during the football World Cup in 2022. Following the tournament, the stadium’s modular top tier will be disassembled and used to build football facilities in developing countries that lack sporting infrastructure, in coordination with football’s governing body, Fifa.

The stadium will also contain an open-air, natural grass pitch that can be cooled to 26 degrees Celsius, with shaded spectator stands that can be cooled to between 24 and 28 degrees Celsius.

In May 2013, Aecom was appointed design consultant and the local office of Kuwait-based KEO Consultants as project manager for the Al-Wakrah stadium project.