Voorburg – Plans to build the Wegvers School in Voorburg met with resistance from the local population. The hundred-year-old school in stately Vijverhofbuurt needs updating. “The municipality should listen to us and step in,” says a local.
“The school has to be renovated because it no longer meets the requirements for modern furniture,” says Krijn van Putten of Lucas Education. It used to be that you were standing in front of the class and studying at the front and that was it, but now we know that kids learn in different ways. So we need more space. The big problem: a new school with a larger interior space has to be built on the same roof as the old, small primary school.
“Of course we looked at another easier site,” Van Putten says. ‘But there is no. Moreover, this is a much-needed school in the district. So there is every reason to convert the old school into a new elementary school in its current location.
Residents are worried about the plans. I got a 12 meter high blank wall on the boundary of my property. What does that do for my enjoyment of living asks Martin Friborg, a resident next to the school.
The director of the Lucas Education Group acknowledges that the construction site is not ideal. “The problem is that we have to perceive something in a small space that doesn’t quite fit, it just fits.” Another problem is that locals want the facade of the 1931 school building to remain. To make room for the new building, the schoolyard has to be moved from the back of the school to the front, and there is no space there either. “We’ll probably investigate that now, if we want to use the road for school,” Van Putten says.
Old primary school renovation leads to controversy in Vürburg
“I understand that it is difficult”
Neighborhood activists want everything to stay the way it is. “This is a private building, and if we don’t want the biggest space hog – a new gym – all the modifications can simply be done inside the old school,” says spokeswoman Tetia Kalker. Thus, the old small gymnasium in which the school is still located will become part of the new user space and children will receive physical education lessons in schools in the area.
“Of course we’ve investigated it,” replies the group’s manager, Van Putten. But there is no room for exercise elsewhere. I realize it’s hard for the locals, but there is no negotiating space in the build size. We are legally obligated to give physical education classes and cannot do without them, so a new gym will be built on the current site.
“wrinkle on stamp”
Activists are now hoping for support from the city council. “In the end, the municipality will have to pay, and we hope that council members will not sign at the cross,” says Tettea Kalker. We think a modern school would fit in well here, but not with all the extra facilities that Lucas Education would want here. It’s very small here. That’s a lot of padding on a stamp. This just does not fit here.
In a written response, responsible city councilor Juliette Beau said the perception of a gymnasium in a different location was “unwelcome”. Because 250 children have to move several times a week within the municipality, because there is no longer a gym in the school. In addition, the importance of physical education for children is increasing so that they grow up healthy and fit.
“Make a careful operation”
The councilman is aware of local residents’ concerns about new construction. This is why we go through a meticulous process with the sound board group and the information evenings we talk to the neighborhood. The final decision on (re)construction is made by the Municipal Council, where all considerations of the parties involved are heard.
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