The municipality of Groningen, the Hanze University of Applied Sciences and the University of Groningen symbolically launched the construction works on the Zernikelaan at the Zernike Campus on Tuesday.
The consortium is set to to invest heavily in the quality of public space and traffic safety, both of which will give Zernike’s appearance a facelift. Edward van der Meer, director of Campus Groningen, is pleased with the upgrade: “To Campus Groningen, this upgrade of the Zernikelaan entails a great improvement to Zernike Campus – not just the infrastructure, but also the public space, and the Campus being a meeting point for education, research and companies will get an enormous boost.”
Improved entrance to Zernike
The construction works at the entrance to Zernike Campus are already in full swing: the bike lanes have been upgraded, and car lanes will follow suit over the summer. The exits from Zernike Campus to the ring road will be widened to ensure continuing good flow of traffic, and the area underneath the ring road will have improved access for cars and bikes.
Rob Verhofstad, a member of the board of the Hanze University, acknowledges the benefits of the improved traffic flow. “We get a more beautiful, hospitable and appealing entrance to the Campus, and a better and safer journey for our students and employees. We have an agreement with the contractor that means students can participate in this project, which plays into our hands-on approach as an institution. The contractor will make a sustainability budget available for research and development of sustainable ideas, which will enable our students, instructors, researchers and other employees can play an important role in this development.”
Peter Westra, director of Oosterhof Holman, which will be carrying out the three-year plan, explains where the challenge lays in this upgrade: “In terms of implementation, the job is ‘a piece of cake’, but it is the dynamic surroundings that makes this project so challenging. We hope to use new techniques from our Living Lab for architectural and infrastructural innovations.”
Education and business life
“A campus full of talent also needs a good physical appearance”, according to Zernike Campus. Roeland van der Schaaf, alderperson for spatial development at the municipality of Groningen, says, “I am proud that we are succeeding in bringing together education and business life so well. We have so much potential and talent as a city: in the energy transition, on a digital level, in the field of healthy ageing. A Zernike Campus with international allure and appearance fits into that.”
Erika Hepping, director of real estate and investments of the University of Groningen, points out that Zernike Campus is bustling with construction works: “The Upgrade Zernikelaan is not the only building activity at the Campus. The UG alone has two projects going on at the moment: the expansion of the Aletta Jacobs Hall and from 1 July onward, construction of the Feringa Building. This shows how much the Campus is developing. A beautiful, lively and accessible Zernikelaan plays an important part in this.”