When Cursor takes a look around the building site on Vestdijk on Tuesday morning, the concrete roof panels have just been laid on the new build with the help of a crane. Like us, Daan Hommersom, SSRE's housing commissioner, is seizing the opportunity to take the necessary photos - between offering information - and on the second floor puts the fallen time-lapse camera back in place. Satisfied: “It's going fast now”.
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Indeed, the student association has come a long way in its efforts to relocate, a process that has spanned a fair few years. Early this year SSRE was finally able to sign the mortgage deed at the notary public's office and construction could get underway - although the building contractors then found themselves waiting longer than they had hoped for some materials.
Then, last March there was a “tense moment” when after the first excavated decimeters it seemed there might be valuable remains of various kinds in the ground, with the proximity of the long-gone Eindhoven Castle being a factor. Happily for the association it was soon concluded that in terms of archeological interest the site was of little interest.
What the construction workers did stumble across during their digging, however, was two big old oil tanks, the existence of which came as a surprise to both the municipality and the previous owner of the property. Not that they held up the building process, although soil remediation was required in some of the surrounding area. “Fortunately we were able to change gear with the building contractor, so that the planned pile-driving work didn't need to be put back; otherwise we'd have lost two months right there and then. But it did cost us plenty of money,” Hommersom tells us.
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Since this spring, however, serious building work has been going on at the 150 square meter association premises (sociëteit), situated behind the characteristic white villa at Vestdijk 22. A ‘box within a box’ will be the end result, as the SSRE administrator explains, with double walls and glazing that should ensure that every decibel soon stays on the premises.
The building contractor expects to complete the new build in mid-October. After that SSRE itself will set to work on the finishing. The association is saving the festive opening week until mid-November, once the first-quarter exams are out of the way.
For the forthcoming Introduction Week in August, in any event, the 'representation space' as it is known, on the villa's ground floor, must be completely ready. This ‘repre’, measuring some 50 square meters, will soon become SSRE's second drinks party room. It will be the venue for, among other things, the drinks parties held to celebrate the new board's appointment (constitutieborrels), and introductions to societies (disputen) from other cities. Here too a ‘box within a box’ will be created to prevent noise nuisance, so the names of all the current SSRE members that were recently written on the wall will soon be saved for eternity but out of sight.
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Intro participants will be welcomed in August during the daily program, “so they'll be able to see how nice it will be here”. For the afterparties after midnight the association is hiring a large hall (De Schuilplaats) on Stratumseind, where they also hosted a party for prospective students at the end of May during the After Exam Days.
In the rest of the existing villa, ranged over three floors, there are the usual meeting and storage rooms; there will also be a kitchen, toilets and a cloakroom. For the rest, in terms of remodeling, not much is happening in the old building for the time being, explains Hommersom; the association does however have a long-range maintenance plan for its monumental property. Future plans include remodeling the facade and on the inside revealing the original roof structure (currently hidden behind a suspended ceiling).
Hommersom won't be around to see the remodeling while still a student. After the summer he will begin his Master's in Data Science at JADS in Den Bosch and as for his board position at SSRE, he will also be passing on the baton. Nonetheless, he and current SSRE president Fenno van den Eijnde will continue to lead the construction process for another couple of months, “there's no way this project can be handed over at this stage”. But he will be taking a three-week vacation this summer. Laughing: “I have to say I think it has been a more intense board year than most.”