What: Groundbreaking, UNK STEM Building
When: 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 9
Where: West of lot 23, 25th Street and 19th Avenue
What: Welcome by Chancellor Kristensen, overview of project, photos
KEARNEY – University of Nebraska at Kearney will take another ceremonial step – or shovel – forward Wednesday with the groundbreaking for a long-awaited science-technology-engineering-math building on the university’s west campus.
The 3:30 p.m. May 9 celebration is free and open to the public.
Plans for the 80,000-square-foot, $30 million building have been in the works since 2016 when funding was approved by the Nebraska Legislature. It is one of three separate building projects that will replace the existing Otto Olsen building. Most of the programs housed today in Otto Olsen will move to the new building: construction management, industrial distribution, interior design, aviation, computer science and information technology.
In addition, mathematics and statistics programs are being relocated to the new building from Warner Hall. Physics/astronomy and engineering programs also are relocating from Bruner Hall of Science to the new facility, allowing for an applied “science, technology, engineering and math” – or STEM – focus.
Another new building, tentatively called the Early Childhood Education Center, replaces and enhances UNK’s child development center and integrates childhood education instruction. That building will be located at University Village and ground will be broken in August.
A third piece of the replacement project is the development of an art corridor, housing the glass-blowing lab, to be constructed at the Fine Arts Building.
The new science and technology building is yet to be named, said UNK Chancellor Doug Kristensen. It is located just west of 19th Avenue and 25th Street, between University Drive and Highway 30. The ceremony will take place on the footprint of the building just west of Lot 23.
The building – planned for completion in fall 2019 – is the first such new academic structure since the Health Science Education Complex was added in 2015.
Otto Olsen was built in 1955 and has been on the state’s capital construction replacement list for at least 20 years. It is paid for by renewal bonds and through state appropriation from LB 858, the University of Nebraska Facilities Program of 2016. That appropriation directed deferred maintenance funding to facility replacement projects including the Otto Olsen building.
The building will further synergies between programs from UNK colleges, enhance community engagement, exemplify a cohesive learning environment based on real-world applications and provide optimum space for outstanding instruction and undergraduate research opportunities.
Further, it will be a facility that allows for future growth and adaptability, allowing for flexible uses.