Not just in the short term, but over the long term too, Wageningen UR will continue to deliver education on the Dreijen, the complex of buildings in Wageningen that was due to be sold.
Computechnion, place for student rooms.
The university plans to spend 20 million euros on thoroughly refurbishing the buildings, the Executive Board announced recently. The investment marks a change of course – to date Wageningen UR has been keen to concentrate all its education and research on the Wageningen Campus. But the growth in student numbers necessitates action, and another new education building on the campus would be expensive, says Tijs Breukink of the Executive Board. Moreover, the increase in student numbers may not be long-term. Breukink is referring to the decreasing number of children born in the Netherlands, which will cause a decline in the number of students as of 2022, and to changes in education prompted by the use of distance learning and social media.
With the 20 million euros, refurbishment will be carried out on the Maths and Chemistry building, Transitorium and Agrotechnion. The demolition of Biotechnion, distinctive as it is, will go ahead as planned. In addition, the university will use Computechnion to house students temporarily. ‘We want it to become a lively campus and the student accommodation will help create that,’ says Breukink. The Executive Board still needs to approve the investment.
The continued use of the Dreijen is necessary because the number of students in Wageningen will continue to rise in the coming years, from today’s almost 10,000 to 50,000 in 10 years’ time. The departure of Van Hall Larenstein from the Forum in 2015 will offer some consolation in the short term, but over the longer term capacity equal to one-and-a-half times the education building Orion will be needed for the growing student population. There is no money available for construction on that scale.
Also playing a role in the decision is the fact that Wageningen municipality and Gelderland province have mothballed the plan to build homes on the Dreijen. Originally, Wageningen UR wanted to sell the Dreijen grounds to enable home building, but the planning of that has been postponed.
STW Nederland will create the temporary student accommodation on the Dreijen. About a hundred rooms will be provided in Computechnion, says Pim Koot of STW. He expects the building to be ready for occupation next year. Previously, STW created temporary student accommodation for the university at Duiveldaal.