New fitness and dojo at SSC now open

As of yesterday, it is possible to work out in the new fitness room at the Student Sports Center (SSC). The room that replaces Fitness 1, 2 and 3 is more than twice the size of the previous three separate rooms combined. There is over 1200 square meters of space available. In addition, a new dojo has opened and soon, the Body & Mind room for activities such as yoga and stretching will be put into use. The SSC is undergoing extensive renovations, and a lot of hard work will be done over the next few months in order to complete the other sports rooms and the new sports bar as well. Director Wim Koch expects the entire thing to be completed by June.

photo Gabriel Walenberg

Koch proudly unrolls the construction plans across the table. After months of renovations, he knows them like the back of his hand. “So much hard work has been put into this, by all the contractors and builders as well as our own people. I’m really proud of that. And not only are they working hard, they’re also trying to keep the inconvenience to sports card holders to a minimum.” The present editor also has such a card and can confirm: yes, it is noticeable that renovations are taking place, but the SSC has been open almost continuously during all these months according to the regular opening hours.

Koch: “We first built an extension and can now move everything in phases. This way, we can keep clearing out rooms that can then be renovated. Last week, Fitness 3 was closed because the equipment was being moved. Fitness 1 and 2 were also closed for a short time, but as of Monday, the new fitness, dojo and dressing rooms on the north side are available. We expect to also have the new Body & Mind room in use by mid-February.”

The new fitness area is literally a breath of fresh air compared to the previous small fitness rooms: plenty of space has been left around all the equipment. There is also much more natural light. Fitness 1 and 2 were enclosed, and like Fitness 3, had limited space for the many people who made use of them - especially at peak hours just after work. This new space has lots of natural light and more pleasant ventilation. 

Own people

“The days leading up to the completion of the fitness area were a lot of hard work,” says Koch. “Atef El Allouche, head of fitness, along with colleagues and ESKV Odin, moved a great deal of fitness equipment. And all the while, the furnishing crew was busy adjusting equipment, hanging doors and applying the final coats of paint while the cleaning staff were hard at work removing construction dust.” The furnishing of the SSC is done in part by the SSC’s own employees. “We have our own technical department with three very handy colleagues covering woodwork, electrics and metalwork. But of course, with such a major renovation, more help is needed for all the interior work.”


A lot of attention is paid to circularity during the renovation: many materials from the gymnasium - which has already undergone renovation - are being reused. For example, the old floor was recycled into the fitness desk, the entrance desk and a sort of stand at the new sports café. The ropes from the gym were also reused as a kind of partition curtain between the hallway and the fitness area, as well as in the sports café. “That is, of course, more sustainable and cheaper,” says Koch.

Open during renovations

In February, the new spinning theater and pole fitness area will be furnished. Koch expects there to be a bit more disruption from now on compared to the past few months. “It’s unavoidable, especially since we’ll be simultaneously building at the front of the sports center, the hallway to the pool, the new front desk and the cafeteria, for example. That won’t go unnoticed. But the reward will be a beautiful sports center. Our general manager Peter Geurts always tries to coordinate with the contractors so that we can schedule the construction work outside of the peak times as much as possible. That usually works out well.”

Koch expects the remaining rooms to be completed in June. The entrance to the new sports center will stay in roughly the same place as where it is now, but there will be entrance gates separating the sports café from the sports facilities. You will be able to drink or eat something at the sports café without a sports card, which is not possible now. “There will be gates where sports card holders have to check in at the front desk, which will face both the public area and the area for sports card holders. We chose to make the sports café accessible to everyone because of its important community function.” The sports café will also be considerably larger than before. An opening party will be held at the beginning of the new academic year. The exact date is yet to be determined.

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