26 July 2022

Green light for first step in expansion of sports and culture facilitiesAdditional temporary facility for sports and cultural activities and upgrade Vrijhof

The Executive Board has recently given its approval for the first step in the expansion of the sports and culture facilities on campus. These expansions are motivated by the current lack of capacity and by the obsolescence of certain facilities. This involves the realization of  additional temporary facilities for sports and cultural activities and the upgrade of the Vrijhof, with technical innovation and with a more attractive presentation of Culture within the Vrijhof.

Continuing to invest in capacity, quality and the distinctiveness of the campus

The campus, with all its amenities for the UT, is of important distinctiveness and within the Shaping2030 strategy of great added value for the future: "Our campus is a dynamic hotspot, where we meet, brainstorm and try to solve current issues." In addition to the educational and research facilities, we have various sports and culture facilities that also make our campus so special. This requires a permanent investment in current and new facilities to stay up to date and safe. In addition, over the past few years, we have grown as a UT both in terms of student numbers and in staff members. This leads to a lack of capacity in various places in the sports and culture facilities. As a result, in 2021, research was conducted into the quality and capacity of the sports and culture facilities and a survey was conducted among UT staff and students to gauge needs in this area. 

Results of housing research

When it comes to housing various sports and culture facilities, the conclusion of the study is that an enhancement in both capacity and quality is desirable and necessary. The culture facilities in the Vrijhof clearly show that hardly any investments have been made in recent years. Both the functionality, experience and design are outdated. In terms of accessibility and sustainability, a leap in quality is also necessary. The sports amenities are generally still in good condition from a building point of view, but an investment is necessary in the coming years to meet current requirements and to offer a safe sports environment. Furthermore, a number of sports halls are technically outdated.

Results survey sports and cultural needs

The survey among students and staff shows that there is a particular need for more individual activities, workshops, courses and group lessons. There is a lot of demand for fitness, swimming, yoga, dancing and various group classes (e.g. spinning). It is noteworthy that there is a lot of interest in activities in the field of culture and entertainment, such as film, dancing, theater and live comedy supplemented with food & wine, museums, gaming, cultural festivals and music. There is also a specific interest in the culture of Twente and the history of the UT. When it comes to the latter cultural activities, there is still plenty to add to the current offer. 

Masterplan Sport and Culture

To be able to meet the ambitions, demands and spatial needs of the UT and the current requirements for sports and culture amenities, a substantial catch-up and investment programme is necessary. The Campus and Facility Management (CFM) department, in collaboration with the Student Union, Apollo, Sport Umbrella Twente (SUT) and bureau draaijer+partners, has translated the results of the studies into a master plan for Sport and Culture.

In this master plan, various sub-projects have been defined, with the basic idea that we work step by step towards the required extra capacity and quality. At the same time we aim for visibility of the first results at short notice. An additional goal is that these projects also contribute to improving the Boulevard and surroundings and to a better connection with the education and research square (O&O Plein).

Recently, the Executive Board decided to start with the following two projects:

1.       Temporary accommodation (Air dome, fitness and temporary dance hall):
In order to meet the desired capacity in the short term for sports activities in the winter, an Air dome will be temporarily be placed on the current beach field or on the camping site. The size of this hall will be 47 x 30 x 11 metres.
The decision on the exact location has yet to take place, with the aim of minimizing the inconvenience to other users.
An extra temporary dance hall with a size of 20 x 12 x 5 metres will be provided at the parking lot directly behind the Vrijhof to meet growing demand for dance activities.

There will be an extra fitness area on the UTrack zone to absorb the extra demand on the current gym.

For all the above-mentioned temporary accommodations, the planning and execution depends on the necessary permits that must be supplied by the municipality. The discussions with the municipality will start after the summer holidays. As soon as there is more clarity from both the municipality and suppliers, a clear planning for the realization can be given.

2.       Upgrade Vrijhof:
This mainly concerns quick-wins with regard to theatre technology and improving the visibility of Culture in the foyer and outside with lighting. After the summer we will start the design/ preparation phase together with the main users.

The above sub-projects are the first concrete results from the Sports & Culture master plan. CFM aims to come up with a new update after the summer holidays on improving the capacity and quality of the sports & cultural facilities.

More information

If you have any questions about the developments in the Sports and Culture master plan, please contact Ingrid Bos and Evelien Bril.

General information about the long-term housing strategy of the UT and, over time, also about the sub-projects of the Sport and Culture Master Plan can be found on www.utwente.nl/ltsh.

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