The current Sports Center on the Zernike Campus is old, too small and also energy-wise outdated. This is why the University of Groningen (UG), Hanze University of Applied Sciences (Hanze) and ACLO Student Sports decided to replace this indoor sports complex. To this end, board members of the organisations involved, Hans Biemans (UG), Petra Smeets (Hanze) and Bram Pikkemaat (ACLO), signed an agreement on Friday 10 December 2021 that will make it possible to build a new complex.
The current Sports Center, dating back to 1967 (ca. 10,000 m2 GFA) at Blauwborgje 16, has been expanded and renovated several times over the years in order to grow along with (the wishes of) the sporting student community. However, not only have the spatial limits of the complex been reached by now, the complex and the facilities are also seriously outdated. For this reason, the UG and Hanze today reached multi-annual agreements on the organisation and financing of a new sports complex. This is an important step for all students and staff who use the sports facilities. The organisations herewith also underline the importance of sports and exercise, which has become even more important during the Corona crisis.
"Here in Groningen, we have built up a wonderful student sports tradition over the years and we are proud to be the largest student sports organisation in Europe. Due to the strong growth in the number of students at the UG and Hanze who want to play sports with us, we have noticed that the current sports complex is not sufficient. Because of this, we have to get more and more creative in order to offer sufficient sports hours of good quality," says Bram Pikkemaat, student and chairman of the ACLO executive board. "To put it in sports terms: the current sports complex is really in injury time. We are therefore very pleased with the step to realise a new sports center. In this way, the ACLO can continue to offer an attractive range of sports to more than 19,000 students and 51 student sports associations.
UG Board member Hans Biemans is also happy with the new agreement. "Sports and exercise are hugely important for the development and mental welfare of our students and staff. We also know that our sports concept - which is organised for, by and with students - offers great opportunities for self-development, meeting new people and getting to know other ways of working. You can benefit from this throughout your career. A well-equipped sports center is also crucial to the development of a welcoming and vibrant campus. As university, we are therefore happy to invest in the realisation of improved sports facilities."
Besides the utilisation by the ACLO for leisure sports, the Sports Center is frequently used during the day by the School of Sports Studies of the Hanze University of Applied Sciences. "We are looking forward to making use of the new facilities within our sports education programmes," says Petra Smeets of the Hanze. "Sport is becoming increasingly important for a healthy and active society. There is an increased social demand for innovative and well-trained professionals who can help with sport and health initiatives. A nice example of which we are very proud is the 'Time for Future' project, in which we, in cooperation with other parties, let children in rural Groningen participate in sporting and cultural activities. This allows them to discover and develop their talents as well as build up a sustainable and healthy lifestyle."
Now that the agreements about the organisation, exploitation and finances, among other things, have been established between the parties involved, preparations can begin for listing all the starting points for the design process. An important puzzle during the design phase is the choice of location on the Zernike Campus. Depending on this, direction can also be given to the planning of the entire project development.
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