2 November 1999

New Indoor Sports Complex Inaugurated for Joint Use by the University of Heidelberg and the Heidelberg College of Education

Finance minister Gerhard Stratthaus and undersecretary of state for science Michael Sieber: "Future-oriented enhancement of the higher-education landscape – exemplary commitment by the state government" – "Together with the Olympic Base the new complex forms one of the largest unified higher-education sports centres anywhere in Germany"

"In the global competition for supremacy as an economic location, Baden-Wuerttemberg can only assert its position by being better and faster than its competitors in the international arena. That is why establishing and maintaining forward-looking structures in industry, science and research is a political task of paramount importance. The state government systematically promotes science, innovation and the pursuit of excellence with a view to cementing and enhancing Baden-Wuerttemberg's status as front-runner at the national level." Thus finance minister Gerhard Stratthaus and Michael Sieber, undersecretary of state at Baden-Wuerttemberg's Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Art on Tuesday, 2 November 1999, on the occasion of the inauguration of the new indoor sports complex for the University of Heidelberg and Heidelberg's College of Education.

The construction of the complex took 15 months and the total cost was 15.9 million marks. Particularly gratifying for the finance minister was the fact that scrupulous planning and construction work had made it possible to undercut the 20 million marks originally earmarked for the project by a clear margin. Stratthaus and Sieber see the new complex as an opportunity for the Unuiversity and the College of Education to oranise teaching and research even more efficiently than hithero, singling out for special mention the innovative conception of the complex and its exemplary provisions for teaching, research and active sport. It boasts all the latest in technical equipment, including a video platform, a diagnosis room, a videotheque and a media room. At the same time it offers sportspeople optimum training conditions in preparing for the Olympic Games in 2000. "Together with the Olympic Base it represents one of the largest unified higher-education sports centres anywhere in Germany," said Stratthaus.

"The challenge facing teaching and research in sport science is that of keeping up with the headlong changes taking place in the sport landscape while upholding excellence and innovative flexibility. The developments on the way to a modern society have dramatically transformed the realities of young people's lives. In a by no means insignificant number of children, increasing technology, lack of exercise, regimentation of leisure time, destruction of natural play areas and an inability to identify any meaningful purpose in life have led to abnormalties and deficiencies in a wide range of areas," said Sieber, adding that conventional physical education classes geared to a mere rehearsal of the commonest kinds of established sports and games is only of limited value in such a context. He emphasised that "the new complex with its broad range of different functional environments makes it easier to take more systematic account both of trend sports and of the specific requirements of sport in school. Also there would be more scope and opportunity for specifically targeted activities such as psychomotoric training for young people, sport for the elderly and the development of instruction modules for sport therapy.

Minister Stratthaus called the efforts made by the state government in the field of higher education policy "exemplary". Expenditure on higher education will top the 5 billion mark in 1999, keeping Baden-Wuerttemberg out ahead of all the other L"nder in this respect. Heidelberg University itself is a definite case in point, said Stratthaus, with 6 major building projects costing a total of 437 million marks starting up in 1999 and another 6 costing 138 million marks completed this year. "These figures testify to the high priority the state government gives to enhancing the future-oriented development of its higher-education institutions," he concluded.

Please address any inquiries to:
Dr. Michael Schwarz
Press Officer of the University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 542317

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