Science - April 28, 2005

Forum unlikely to be ready on time

The completion date for the new Forum building is uncertain. Various parties are already assuming that the building will not be ready on time, which will have widespread repercussions for the planned move in the summer holiday of 2006.

The director of the new building project, Jan Driesse, is not committing himself as to whether the Forum building will be ready for use by the start of the academic year 2006/2007. Various sources have suggested that the completion date mentioned in the contract that Wageningen UR has with the builders is not 1 September 2006 but 1 November. Driesse declined to comment on this. ‘We have agreed that in our official communications we will maintain that the building will be ready in the academic year 2006/7.’ He is not prepared to guarantee however that it will be ready by then. ‘We can’t provide that kind of guarantee on such a complex project.’ According to Driesse the construction work is already running behind.

The Forum Building will be the centre for all education in Wageningen. The seven-storey building is where students will have most of their lectures and practicals, and it will also house part of Larenstein university of professional education, which is due to come to Wageningen in September next year.

If the building is not ready before summer 2006, it is going to be difficult to move all the laboratories and computer rooms during the vacation as originally planned. To move during term time will be very disruptive for course work, according to the building supervisor Piet de Visser. ‘You can’t just pack up, move and unpack in a weekend. It would be better to postpone the move for a year if you want to avoid a revolt among students and lecturers.’

According to spokesman Simon Vink, the Executive Board is still basing its plans on a completion date of 1 September 2006. The board will assess the situation again this summer. / KV

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