Student - May 7, 2009

EXTRA ROOMS AT THE HAARWEG

After the summer, new foreign students in Wageningen can be put up in Wageningen, if it’s up to the executive board. The board wants to convert two former university buildings at the Haarweg into accommodation, and to put some container units there too, creating 250 extra student rooms between them. The plans still need the approval of the town council.

‘By doing this, Wageningen UR is taking responsibility for accommodating foreign students’, says Simon Vink, spokesman for the executive board. ‘It was clear that there were 250 fewer rooms than were needed to house them all. And the number of new Dutch students is growing too. The market is not yet responding to this, so something longer term had to be done, as cost-effectively as possible.’

Developing the Haarweg instead of housing most foreign students in a bungalow park on the Veluwe as in previous years, makes it possible for more students to plunge straight into Wageningen social life without having to commute. ‘The bungalows may still be necessary but not for as long’, says Vink.

The housing cooperative Idealis, which primarily rents rooms to students, is surprised by the university’s decision. ‘We offered to provide temporary accommodation too. But if they want to do it themselves, it’s up to the university of course’, commented director Hans Medenbach.
Wageningen UR wants to create 55 units in the former home of Plant and Animal Physiology, and 63 in the old Agronomy building, to be used for five years. And on the Agronomy compound there will be another 130 units, for seven years. It is not yet clear exactly what form they will take. ‘All that still has to be worked out’, says Vink.

Not is it clear how the temporary room rentals will be organized. ‘Subcontracting is an obvious option’, says Vink, ‘but the placements at Landall Green Parks on the Veluwe were also partly managed by Wageningen UR. It may be that we will ask Idealis, but there are other options too.’
Next week Wageningen UR has the first discussions about the plans with the town council, whose approval and planning permission are needed first. If the permits are issued in time, the idea is to have the rooms ready by the end of August. Together with the Binnenhaven complex that has been restored, this will mean an additional 400 students living on the Haarweg, on top of the 1040 already living in the Idealis complex there.

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