The facility, which will cost £6m, will be known as the Roman Maryport Visitor Centre. It will be built at Camp Farm, which contains the remains of an old Roman fort as well as civilian accommodation that sprang up around the fort. The work is being paid for by Hadrian's Wall Heritage - a publicly-funded body set up in 2005 by English Heritage, Natural England and the Northwest Regional Development Agency.
Most of the building work will be done by specialised contractors. Capita Symonds will do much of the architectural and landscape design as well as work associated with heritage and planning, building design, highway engineering and project management. The exact amount being paid to Capita Symonds has not been revealed.
The project will involve converting the historic farm buildings into galleries. Car parks will be created and new play areas will be laid out. Cafe facilities, footpaths and a new access road will be built. The site is particularly sensitive because of the historic evidence that could be destroyed by any new construction. Hadrian's Wall Heritage said it hoped to attract 50,000 visitors a year, who will spend around £2m.
Capital Symonds project director Paul King said: "This project represents an exceptional opportunity to showcase our experience in delivering heritage-led projects."