Kier Southern has been awarded a £19m contract to design and build a historical resource centre in Brighton.

The new ‘Keep’ facility will be built for a partnership grouping which includes East Sussex County Council, Brighton & Hove City Council and the University of Sussex.

When complete, the facility will house historical records and archives for the local area and will also be the headquarters for the Sussex Family History Group.

Over 52,000sq ft of storage, office and public access space will be created across three floors and will be formed of two main blocks, one housing the repository and one for all other functions.

WS Atkins has consulted with advised Kier on the design aspect of the project. Work on site is due to begin this summer with construction expected to be completed by Christmas 2012.

Phil Combs, design manager with Kier Southern, said: “Kier Southern has enjoyed an excellent collaborative relationship with ESCC over the past couple of years which has resulted in a quality design for The Keep within tight budget constraints.

“Community engagement with The Keep project was a key factor in the development of the design with Kier and ESCC instigating a series of public consultations and end-user workshops. We are looking forward to progressing with the construction process and delivering a quality product for our client.”