Strong growth in student numbers over the past few years at Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences in Apeldoorn has now led to the university investing for the first time in student accommodation.
Wittenborg is finalising the purchase of 5 apartments in the south of Apeldoorn - about 3km from its campus at 500 Laan van de Menserechten - which will be renovated and ready to move in to by this autumn. The sale is being realised in cooperation with Rabobank.
It is the first time the university is investing in property since its move to Apeldoorn from Deventer in 2010. Since then, it has seen international student numbers soar at about 20% annually. Currently, Wittenborg has about 500 students from more than 70 different nationalities.
Traditionally not a student city, a number of institutes have in the past few years set up house in central Apeldoorn, boosting its economy and construction industry. For instance, a cluster of schools can these days be found on the city-side of the railway station including Wittenborg, Saxion University of Applied Sciences and the Fotovakschool. On the other side of the station is Aventus as well as Wittenborg's primary location. Consequently, many investors have seized the opportunity with several ongoing developments for student accommodation.
Wittenborg's Chair of the Executive Board, Peter Birdsall, has said the university will be pursuing further property towards the end of the year, eventually hoping to secure a city centre campus in Apeldoorn.
"Investing in our own student accommodation means we can always guarantee beds for new students. This is especially important because we have new students coming in throughout the year."
Until now, Wittenborg has worked with rental corporations to ensure its many international students have a roof over their heads when they arrive in the Netherlands. According to Birdsall, the university has now shifted towards a mixed housing system. "Some of the agreements we have with rental corporations are coming to an end, while others are to continue. We are investing in student accommodation ourselves and the new Full Force Sports Academy in Apeldoorn will also house some of our students."
Students currently staying in the rentals being terminated will be accommodated in the new apartments. "Wittenborg wants to offer its students good value for money with quality accommodation. We feel it our duty to ensure they have one less thing to worry about when they arrive at Schiphol airport. Hopefully, we can secure even more space in the future," a press release from the university's management reads.
by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press