De Bongerd Sports Centre was expanded two years ago with a new sports hall. But it is once again approaching full capacity due to the continuing growth in student numbers, say both the director of the centre and the board of Thymos, the student sports association.
© Sven Menschel
‘The new sports hall has catered well for the additional 750 students coming in over the past two years,’ says Henri ten Klooster, head of De Bongerd Sports Centre (SCB). ‘And at the moment we are well equipped for exam periods too.’ For exams, De Bongerd can accommodation 1000 students at a time, more than double its former capacity.
But if the number of students goes on rising in line with the trend of recent years, Ten Klooster predicts the centre will soon get crowded again. ‘Because even though we now have lots of space, we are noticing that we are already nearly full.’ The main reason for this is that relatively large numbers of students take part in a sport run by a club. Ten Klooster: ‘It is easier to cater for 50 extra people in an aerobics class than for the same number in a student volleyball club. They form five teams, all of which have the right to one and a half hours of training.’
Extended daytime schedule
Esther Veldhuizen, chair of SWU Thymos, doubts whether the sports centre will still be able to accommodate all the students into the near future. There are still waiting lists for several sports, including volleyball, she says. And the introduction of the extended daytime schedule could cause additional problems. From September, classes will continue until 19:00 hours, leaving short evenings for sport. ‘Thymos’s aim is to get every member of a club training at least once a week. With the extended schedule, it is going to be harder to make sure that happens.’
On the other hand, Ten Klooster sees new opportunities in the extended schedule as well. Classes are spread over a longer period of time, creating gaps in students’ timetables. ‘So we may be able to increase the number of daytime classes people can sign up for, reducing the pressure on our facilities in the evening.’
No new extension
There are no immediate plans for a new extension of the Sports Centre. If the number of students making use of it goes on growing, it will need to find creative ways of making good use of the accommodation, says Peter Booman, director of WUR’s Facilities and Services. ‘My impression is that with the facilities we have now and the effort put in by teachers and staff, we have a great sports centre. Exactly how things will work out in the next few years remains to be seen. We shall have to go on monitoring it well from September.’
Ten Klooster underlines the importance of the sports centre for WUR. ‘It is a safe meeting place for students, where they can sample a wide range of sports cheaply. And exercise has a positive impact on academic results. Sit less, feel better!