In the future, the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences (Hogeschool Rotterdam – HR) will comprise four core locations, one of which will be located in the Rotterdam-Zuid district. The HR is currently operating in this district from leased premises on the Posthumalaan. The strategic real estate policy was passed by the Central Representative Board last Monday.
One of the options, according to Board member Wijnand van den Brink, is that the building located on the Posthumalaan – where the Rotterdam Business School (RBS) is currently located after Building C at Kralingse Zoom was deemed unsafe – will become that core location in the future. ‘We are looking for a suitable property in the Zuid district which is in line with the strategic real estate policy for 2019-2028. The premises must have good access to public transport, it has to be a safe location for students, and the area must offer plenty of services and amenities. It could also turn out to be a different existing building or an entirely new building.’
‘Connecting to parts of the city’
Rotterdam-Zuid is to house one of the so-called core locations because the HR ‘wants to connect to parts of the city where a lot of our students live and where many of the urban issues that our education is focused on actually play out on a daily basis.’ This resolution is included in the HR’s strategic real estate policy. By opening a location in the Zuid district, the HR wants to show that it is ‘truly a university of applied sciences for the city of Rotterdam.’
It has not been decided yet which educational institutes will be housed at the new location. It is clear that the RBS will not be among them, as that institute will return to the Kralingse Zoom once Building C has been renovated.
Three core locations in Noord
The large buildings currently owned by the HR (Kralingse Zoom, Wijnhaven 61/Blaak, Museumpark and Academieplein) will form part of three core locations in ‘Noord’. In some cases, the core locations will be clusters of several buildings situated close to each other.
The strategic real estate plan describes a core location as a site where HR students can find ‘inviting, safe and small-scale learning environments, mainly for education in the first few years’. A core location must have facilities such as counsellors, quiet workplaces and a large cafeteria.
Satellite locations close to the work field
Van den Brink cannot say at this point which buildings exactly will be part of which core locations. It is also unclear for which buildings the HR may terminate the lease and which ones they will sell. Van den Brink: ‘It goes without saying that well-located owned and rented properties will not be rejected just like that. Certainly if they are favourably located vis-à-vis the field of work.’
‘Close to the field of work’ is also the key principle for the HR’s smaller ‘satellite locations’. RDM Campus will be a permanent satellite; in addition, other small locations will be rented temporarily in locations in the city where education could use a hand. ‘For instance in areas that the municipality considers to be development areas.’
‘Thinking about which facilities will be located where’
Blue City, located in the former Tropicana swimming pool, has been considered a satellite location since last month, a place where education and research are in close contact with the professional field. Here and at other satellite locations, the facilities will be more limited than in the core locations, as the strategic real estate plan describes. ‘In Blue City, students actively work on projects, so we will not, for example, dedicate space to quiet workplaces,’ Van den Brink explains.
At the satellite locations, there will be no counsellors and no large cafeterias. ‘We need to think in a broad sense about which facilities will be located where. We will certainly have to deliberate and discuss core locations comprising several buildings, and these discussions will have to involve the actual users. We’ll have to investigate what the optimal solutions are for students and teachers.’
The solar energy panels recently installed at the Museumpark location demonstrate that sustainability is an important issue for the HR. This is also attested to by the strategic real estate plan, which states that ‘sustainability will be a guiding principle in our real estate and housing choices’. Energy savings are important to the HR, both from an environmental and from a financial point of view. The HR furthermore wants to ‘quit natural gas as soon as possible’.
Text: Jos van Nierop
Illustration: Katja Hermann