News - September 14, 2017

ESG moves out of Atlas

Roelof Kleis

The Environmental Sciences group is to be concentrated in Gaia and Lumen, freeing up more than two floors in Atlas for other purposes, primarily teaching space.

© Roelof Kleis

The ESG move was on the agenda two years ago but was abandoned because of the cost. The situation has changed since then, explains ESG director Bram de Vos. ‘The urgency is greater: the space in Atlas is needed for teaching the growing numbers of students.’

There are currently still three chair groups in Atlas: Soil Physics and Land Management, Soil Biology and Biological Soil Quality, and Soil Chemistry and Chemical Soil Quality. They take up the third and some of the fourth floor of the building, and the ESG’s labs are on the second floor and the ground floor (the level below the entrance). From September 2018, these labs will be needed for teaching purposes.

The concentration in Gaia and Lumen entails some renovations and some sharing of space. ‘The biggest challenge is the laboratory space,’ says De Vos. ‘For that we have in mind the business block behind Gaia and some rooms in Lumen.’ The extra workspaces will have to be created by arranging existing rooms differently. ‘That means fewer square metres per person. But that is possible.’ Exactly what the new layout will look like, no one knows yet. Staff have been invited to chip in with their ideas during the design phase, which runs until the end of October.

The concentration of the ESG in Gaia and Lumen coincides with cutbacks in Wageningen Economic Research. Due to poor financial performance, the institute has to shed 100 of its 350 FTEs. This process is now halfway, says de Vos. It simplifies the move as fewer workplaces are needed. And leaving Atlas will bring savings in accommodations costs.

At the moment, the move has the status of a proposal by the Executive Board. The final green light will be given once the plans have been worked out in detail and the works council has approved them.