Wiltshire facility will house 300,000 items, including a flight simulator chair used by NASA

Space Shuttle chair

Kier has been named as the contractor to build the Science Museum’s permanent new home for more than three quarters of its collection of scientific artefacts in Wroughton, Wiltshire.

With construction kicking off this month and completion expected early next year, the 280,000ft² building (pictured, below) will house more than 300,000 items from the museum’s collection, including a NASA space shuttle flight simulator chair (pictured), a Citreon DS19 driverless car dating back to 1960 and a Chinese incense clock.

Once completed the centre will eventually house 80% of the museum’s collection and be open to the public. It will also receive school and research visits from 2023, according to Sian Williams, the museum’s programme director.

National collection centre science museum swindon 1

Earlier this week Kier’s development division, Kier Property, bought Arena Central in Birmingham, a major regeneration project owned by Miller Developments. It plans to develop three further phases of the site’s existing masterplan.

Last month Keir’s chief executive Haydn Mursell left the business after the group’s £250m rights issue was not fully taken up and which some in the City suggested had been mishandled.

Ex-Wates boss Andrew Davies, who had been due to take over the reins at Carillion before it went bust, is the front-runner for the Kier job.