News - February 11, 2016

Helix air extraction causes loss of 2.4 million

Rob Ramaker

The technical faults in the new Helix building’s air extraction system will result in an estimated loss of 2.4 million euros. This is the amount stated in Wageningen University’s budget for 2016. People were supposed to move into the building last summer but the problems with the air extraction mean it is still empty.

Facilities and Services will try and recover the loss from the builders, says director Peter Booman. ‘It’s usually best to go for an amicable settlement,’ he explains, ‘because going to court will cost both sides a lot of time and money.’ Booman would rather not say anything more as he does not want to negatively influence the process.

The aforementioned 2.4 million only covers the direct costs in making Helix ready for use. It excludes indirect costs, for example in keeping Biotechnion open for longer and keeping the catering going at the Dreijen site. According to Booman, these costs are relatively small compared with the building setback.

Helix will house eight chair groups in the Agrotechnology & Food Sciences Group (AFSG). They have stayed put at the Dreijen since the scheduled move failed to go through. Work has been going on feverishly in recent months to resolve the technical issues. ‘Numerous measures, both major and minor, have been taken,’ says spokesman Simon Vink. ‘They seem to be working. A solution is in sight for all the problems.’ Vink remains cautious in giving dates for the completion and move, but ‘in principle the building should be ready before the end of this academic year.’