News - January 13, 2011

Campus building site

What do you mean, recession, and a slump in the construction sector? 2011 is going to be the year of the building site - at least at the Wageningen campus, where building enthusiasts can follow the developments brick by brick. Resource maps out the campus of the not-too-distant future.

Campus in 2014
There is not much to beat the fascination of the comings and goings on a building site. There is never a dull moment, with machines going up and down, trucks coming in and out, construction workers going about their business...
And the construction of Orion, the second education building to go up on the campus, promises to provide quite a spectacle. You can't miss it, positioned as it is bang in the middle of the campus, and there are grandstand views over it from the Forum, Radix, Gaia, Lumen and Atlas.

But all that activity comes with a lot of extra traffic too. And to prevent chaos (not to mention accidents), the site traffic is carefully controlled, with each location sticking to its own approach route. The main aim is to keep the busy cyclists' junction on the Bornsesteeg as free as possible from trucks.
Another solution thought up for Orion was a temporary turn-off of its own on the Mansholtlaan, to minimize the pressure on the main entrance to the campus. In spite of all these efforts, it's a good idea to keep your eyes skinned on campus this year. Watch where you walk, cycle and drive. What used to be on this spot again...? The main developments are outlined here, and there's a map to help you picture it.
The contracting of the work on Orion is almost done and the first digger should be getting to work in early March, after the Spring mid-term holiday. Orion will be the Forum's slightly slimmer little brother. Its most eye-catching feature will be the large lecture theatre that will be suspended above the ground floor like some kind of UFO. The building should be finished by the start of 2013.
The new building for Facilities and Services is to be called Actio, with an obvious reference to action as well as a nod to the new-style office which Facilities and Services staff are going to pioneer in Wageningen UR. Actio has been especially designed for the 'open office' flexible working style. It will form a wing sticking out from the existing Building 116, on a spot where there used to be a house. The tennis courts will give way to the new building too.
The new Animal Sciences Group building, Zodiac, has been under construction since last summer. The existing building (former PRI) on the Elst is undergoing a thorough makeover, with a new central entrance on the campus side connecting the two buildings. Amongst other things, the building will provide teaching accommodation: a 130-seat lecture hall on the left and a computer room on the right with 48 work stations. An additional storey is being added to the existing building on the right. The renovated Zodiac will provide 250 work stations, 50 flexible places and 100 places for students.
Just a stone's throw away from Zodiac, on a corner of the campus behind the AFSG, hard work is going on to complete new research accommodation for Zodiac. This includes sheds and research labs as a new home for De Ossekampen experimental farm. The planned completion date for both projects is 23 September 2011, and that is a hard deadline as the old Zodiac on the Marijkeweg has to be vacated by the end of the year.
New car parks are being created at various locations around the campus. The most striking ones are the two parking garages, one to come next to Radix and one opposite Orion.
The Technotron was completed just before Christmas. This building will provide the AFSG with accommodation for several chair groups, while one third of the former technical hall will become a laboratory and computer room for students. The move is planned for the end of February. Then it will be the turn of the Atrium next door, which is to undergo a thorough renovation this year to house five chair groups now still in the Biotechnion at De Dreijen. The Atrium and the Technotron will be connected in the space currently occupied by the Turbotron. The provisional design is ready and building will start after the summer, to have the complex ready for occupation next year.
But the really big development is the AFSG's building to go up on the Bornsesteeg behind the Futurum (the Restaurant of the Future). Work will start this year on the design of the tower that will compete with the Forum on the campus skyline. The completion date should be some time in 2014 and will mark the last phase of the evacuation of De Dreijen. Before the summer, the AFSG will be moving in to the recently renovated low building opposite the Futurum, which will lie at the foot of the new tower. Downstairs will be the competence centre, a lounge-like academic meeting place for the whole campus.
Gaia and Lumen will be linked with a new common entrance, which will also house the new Isric museum. The soil science institute moved in with the Environmental Sciences Group in Gaia before Christmas, but its museum is still housed at Duivendaal. A small part of the collection will be housed temporarily at the ESG; the building of the new accommodation is only planned for 2012.
Atlas, the most striking building on the campus, is to receive some new residents when the ESG makes way on the top floor for the Head Office. This move is on the agenda for the autumn, when the Head Office leaves Duivendaal, disappearing from Wageningen town centre once and for all. The ESG will stay in Atlas, but will take up less space, with staff being redistributed in the course of the year over Atlas, Gaia and Lumen.
On the other side of the Mansholtlaan, the finishing touches are being put to the NIOO's new building. The NIOO, an ecological institute, is not part of Wageningen UR, but is considered to be part of the campus. The same goes for the new STOAS building to go up next-door to NIOO next year on a strip of land that belongs to Wageningen UR (and was home to IMAG until not so very long ago).
Friesland Campina is the first of a series of 'knowledge-intensive' companies that are supposed to be located on the strip of land south of the campus. Campina plans to build a new R&D centre here, with space for 350 researchers as well as laboratories, a testing factory, a bakery and a facility for conducting taste tests. Among the researchers moving into this building will be the 100 currently housed in the company's base at the 'agrobusiness park' in Wageningen.
Living on the campus is still a 'no go', but if housing provider Idealis and Wageningen UR get their way, that might change. Together with the Wageningen town council, they are looking into possibilities for building student accommodation on the Bornsesteeg. One of the options is the spot where a Facilities and Services' prefab building now stands. But there are no concrete plans yet.

And last but not least, the campus is to have a new junction on the Mansholtplaan, which will be used by the new bus service. But that won't be happening this year: both the bus and the turnoff are planned for 2012.