News - October 22, 2009

All systems go for new AFSG building

The coming weeks will clear the air about the move of the nutrition and bio-molecular sciences groups to the campus. 'If they keep us hanging, then the entire management is not worth its salt.'

Impression of the campus in 2020. The Forum is at right; the tall building in the middle is the new AFSG building.
Researchers working on the Dreijen are in for an exciting time these days.  The Division of Human Nutrition and Laboratory of Molecular Biology cannot wait to move to a new building on the campus.
The decision about the new building - a monolith like the Forum and the Atlas, in which Toxicology and Microbiology will also be housed - has been postponed several times. Next Monday, the Executive Board will put their heads together to come up with a resolution which they will present to the Supervisory Board for approval on 9 November.
Go all out
All signs point to a new building. The AFSG management has begun amassing information about the requirements for the new food nutrition building. Not many details have been worked out for the alternative: If food scientists and chemists remain on de Dreijen, the out-dated Biotechnion would have to be vastly renovated. Executive Board spokesman Simon Vink: 'If it's financially feasible, we're going all out  to quickly have a single location for AFSG.'
World leader
Frans Kok, professor of Human Nutrition, has rallied for years for this move. 'We want to be located together very soon in a modern and representative building with good facilities for food research. Human Nutrition has been hailed as a world leader this summer; we have the second biggest course of study and an order backlog. How can we carry on from here? I'm counting on a decision for a new building.'
In principle, a decision has been made in 2008. The requirements stipulated then seem to be met now. For example, the order books of DLO are well-filled. Another requirement was to shape up business operations in the DLO-part of AFSG. That's on the mend too. In addition, current interest rates are low. The new food building will cost tens of millions of euros. Borrowing will be very expensive when interest rates rise.
Prince's Day
Finally, Prince's Day did not bring any unwelcome surprises. Had the cabinet decided to make big cuts in education and research, Wageningen UR would have to put a stop to its plans. The Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality did make a cut, but this concerns only the DLO.
See to believe
The move is set to take place, feels Nanne Groot, building manager of AFSG. 'I'll be very surprised if the decision is otherwise.' Kok: 'It's great if it happens now, but seeing is believing. If it's going to be something else again this time, they're just keeping us hanging and the entire management is not worth its salt.'