News - December 12, 2013

Extensive building to absorb growth spurt

Roelof Kleis

In the next few years, 1600 extra rooms will be needed to house the fast-growing student population. A quarter of the rooms will be temporary and will be created in vacant properties. Computechnion and the Chemistry Building at the Dreijen are prime targets.

The Bornsesteeg star-shaped block of flats will be the biggest new-build site with 600 rooms. These are some of the plans made by the municipality, Idealis and Wageningen UR.

Cautious forecast

According to Idealis, the housing market is currently in equilibrium - for the first time in years. But it will not stay that way. Forecasts show that the number of students will grow by more than 40 per cent over the next five years. So there will be 10,750 students walking around instead of the current 7500. This is calculated to result in demand for an additional 1300 rooms on top of the existing plans. And this forecast is on the cautious side. This year, for instance, 15 per cent more students were expected but the actual increase was 20 per cent.

The three parties want to tackle this huge extra demand by providing 1200 permanent units and 400 temporary units. Wageningen UR wants temporary student rooms in the newly vacant buildings at the Dreijen. There is space to get 150 rooms each in Computechnion and the Chemistry Building. The Herbarium can take another 20 rooms. Idealis is looking at the empty Diedenoort school building on the Churchillweg, with space for 80 rooms.

New buildings

Most of the rooms over the next few years will be in new buildings.  The Bornsesteeg is the intended site for the biggest project (600 rooms). The idea is that a new building next to the existing block will enhance the entrance to the campus. Other possible sites are Diedenoort/De Mouterij (300 rooms), the SNS bank in the centre (opposite the library, 200 rooms) and the former Kirpestein garage (corner of Churchillweg/Ritzemabosweg, 70 rooms).

The locations are listed in the draft council proposal on student housing, which Wageningen’s politicians will take a decision on in January. The plans are on top of the existing initiatives for new buildings: Nobelweg, Lawickse Hof and Campus Plaza. The newest developments also involve extending all temporary accommodation (incl. Haarweg) by five years and postponing the planned demolition of the Walstraat.