The sports complex that is being erected next to the Sanders Building is growing fast. At present the construction workers are mainly focusing on implementing details, which will no longer be visible once the building has been completed. De Ruijter says that these details mostly concern cables that must be installed inside walls. In addition, the team are busy installing scoreboards and art. “We are optimising things. A very large part of the structure is complete. We’ll definitely be open by the 2022 Eurekaweek.”

De Ruijter is looking forward to the complex opening its doors. “Starting from July, Rotterdam will have the greatest students’ sports centre in all of Europe. Every time I walk around, I think it’s already looking pretty good. It’s fabulous how easy it is to find your way around inside the building, and how open the place is.”

More spacious

The main difference between the old sports centre and the new one is the number of large spaces where matches can be played. It will have three such spaces, rather than two. In addition, there will be two large spaces where people can train. The new gym will be much bigger than the old one, as well – some 30 percent larger. And there will be a multi-functional room that will be used for yoga or personal training. Fewer locker rooms will be available, but they will be much larger, and the lockers will all be placed together, rather than spread across the building.

First and foremost, the new building was designed to be more spacious, so as to be able to accommodate the growing number of students who wish to join the university’s sports clubs – a record number signed up this year. “People are keen to join clubs and societies, and the new building will allow us to meet the demand for spaces where they can train and play matches.”

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Preview of the new sports complex on campus Image credit: VenhoevenCS

Energy-efficient building made of green materials

Increased capacity is not the only advantage of the new sports centre. When the complex was designed, a lot of attention was paid to sustainability, too. “Erasmus Sport’s current building was built in 1969, so there was a lot of room for improvement in terms of sustainability. The entire campus is being made more sustainable, so an up-to-date sports centre fits into that trend,” says De Ruijter. “Take, for instance, things such as ventilation and reduced energy consumption – we really looked at that in the new building. The building was designed in such a way that warm air will be eliminated without much air extraction. That will significantly reduce our energy consumption. In addition, we are re-using a lot of previously used materials. For instance, the planks used in the scaffolding will be used as wall cladding.”

Sense of togetherness

The social aspect was taken into consideration, as well. De Ruijter believes that students are unlikely to feel alone when they walk through the new building. “The old sports centre consisted of a lot of corridors in which people often got lost. The new complex is an immensely large building featuring large spaces, but it was designed in such a way that people won’t feel lost.” The building comes with a large, tiered seating area that is open to the public. In addition, the various spaces are connected to each other in clever ways. “People going about their business on the second floor will be able to see their friends enter the building at the entrance. So they’ll be able to wave hello to each other.”

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