Bongerd’s growth

The Bongerd Sports Centre is bursting at the seams, reported Resource last December. The growth in student numbers has created a pressing need for a new sports hall. How are the plans coming along?
Nicolette Meerstadt

A halt on new members for sports associations, late-night training, resorting to joining city clubs: these are all signs that Wageningen’s student sport is under extreme pressure. Which isn’t so strange when you consider that over the past four years the student population has increased by 57 percent, an average of 14 percent a year. This year the overflowing occupancy of the sports facilities was even evident in the National Student Survey: for the first time in years, the rating awarded by Wageningen students to their sports centre was down compared to the preceding year.

But expanding a sports centre is no mean task, as Henri ten Klooster, head of the Bongerd, knows. Sport costs time and money. A lot of money. The various options were discussed in a recent memorandum to the Executive Board. The most probable option is a second sports hall attached to the present one, built where the tennis courts currently stand. To compensate for the loss of the courts, new tennis courts would be added to the Wageningen city club that is situated adjacent to the Bongerd, and which itself is struggling with a decline in membership. What’s more, the new hall will be able to seat 600 exam candidates. And there is no need for extra parking spaces, often a stumbling block in a construction project. According to Ten Klooster, the campus already provides ample parking.

If and when the hall will be built is as yet unclear. Ten Klooster hopes approval will be given before the summer, so that construction can start in September 2015. But although the Executive Board has responded positively to the memorandum, it is not yet making any promises. The university is keen to examine whether the expansion fits within a ‘broader framework’ of expanding facilities and education capacity. Moreover, it is not clear whether there is enough money. This topic will be debated in the second week of July.

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