Saudi Oger was awarded the first package, worth SR12.5bn, Saudi Binladin Group won the second contract, worth SR10bn, and El-Seif Engineering & Contracting won the third, worth SR8bn. The letters of award were received in mid January.

The first two contracts will cover the majority of the construction work at the site, including low-rise faculty buildings and associated works. The third package covers infrastructure and plant stations (MEED 31:10:08).

The value of the contracts represents a significant reduction in the prices that the firms initially submitted on 22 October 2008.

The client sent a letter to the three low bidders in December 2008 requesting a discount because of falls in raw materials prices since the bids were submitted.

Initially, Saudi Oger submitted the low bid for the first package with a price of SR17bn, Saudi Binladin was the low bidder for the second contract with a bid of SR15bn, and El-Seif submitted the lowest bid for the infrastructure package, at SR11bn.

Mobilisation work has begun on the 3-square-kilometre site, and the project is expected to be completed in two years.

A fourth package, covering a 10-kilometre-long monorail network to link facilities at the university, has also been issued. Bids for the SR1bn contract are expected to be submitted by 22 February.