The SSRE committee rates this as a “pretty complex project” - a little bit small for larger construction companies who could certainly manage it in terms of the expertise and experience required, and a shade too large and complex for smaller parties. “A relatively small plot is involved on which a considerable number of construction techniques are called for. This isn't a run-of-the-mill bar; our requirements in terms of air conditioning, noise standards, and the like are pretty demanding,” stresses Fenno van den Eijnde, chairperson of SSRE.
In view of this, it was no easy task to engage the right building constructor and installation engineer for the job, especially in today's tight construction market, but just before the Christmas vacation all the quotes were in and both the bank and shareholder TU/e approved SSRE's funding application. Van den Eijnde: “Afterwards, a whole host of people had to sign off on that at the office of the civil-law notary; last week the mortgage deed for the loan for the building work was finally passed.”
Read on under the photo.
Over a 1.5 million euros is the planned cost of the remodeling of the monumental villa on Vestdijk, due to start at the end of February (once all the necessary materials have arrived) according to the brand new schedule. The aim is to have all the work completed in time for the Intro this coming August: “The building contractor knows just how important this is to us, so he has based his own schedule on it, and everyone is going to work hard to make it happen,” says housing commissioner Daan Hommersom.
Meanwhile the SSRE committee officer is himself busy completing all kinds of formal administrative processes. “Actually, everything was sorted out well ahead of schedule; we've had the license required by the Licensing and Catering Act for some time now, the operating license for the premises is also in place. Actually, it's now just a matter of filling in the start date.” Van den Eijnde: “It has taken us a while in recent months to find our feet as the new committee, but now everything is going pretty smoothly - thanks in part to the activity and commitment of the previous committee.”
For the past few months SSRE has had its offices partly in the TU/e's Connector building, and partly at Vestdijk. “An office space has been set up and, until the remodeling gets underway, we can receive guests there,” says Hommersom.
When it comes to holding activities without having your own society premises, it is a question of improvising. “We did look into whether we could open a temporary bar in the Paviljoen on the campus, but it takes ages to get hold of a catering license and such like - it's so difficult.”
The sororities and fraternities (disputen in Dutch) are currently holding their meal events and drinks parties mostly at their members' own homes, says Van den Eijnde. It has been possible to continue holding meetings at Vestdijk - but then mainly during the day, and no longer until late at night as used to happen in the Bunker. For other small-scale activities, city bars have become the temporary venue. According to the chairperson, everyone at SSRE is aware of the transition period and the need to improvise, “that's clearly evident. The association is still a close-knit community”.
The only activity currently on the back burner is the larger open SSRE party, Limitless, which draws six to seven hundred students three times a year. “But we'll start that up again once we're in our new premises, bigger than ever,” promises Hommersom. Other familiar SSRE activities, such as IJsvrij and the Stadscantus, were always held at other venues and have been unaffected by the building troubles.