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Together, projects will cost $36.4 million
KEARNEY – With approval today by the University of Nebraska Board of Regents, final planning for two new replacement buildings begins at University of Nebraska at Kearney.
Two buildings are approved as part of the project today: An applied-STEM building proposed for UNK’s west campus west of West Center, and an Early Childhood Education Center, proposed for the new University Village campus.
Together, the projects will cost $36.4 million – $32 million in state funds, with $4.4 million in other UNK funds, including those earmarked earlier for a new child care center.
The buildings replace the 1955 Otto Olsen industrial arts building, which has been on a capital construction list for at least two decades.
“This is an exciting time for advancement of our ongoing capital renewal program, with a focus on improving our facilities to meet the needs of our students, especially in high-end technology,” said UNK Chancellor Doug Kristensen. “Otto Olsen, which sits in the center of our campus, has not served our needs for some time. This combined project has been anticipated and planned for many years, and we are eager to take this great leap forward in technology.”
The largest portion of the two-building project is the new Otto Olsen replacement – yet to be named – that will feature state-of-the-art labs for virtual design/construction simulation, mechanical products and mechatronics, hydraulics/pneumatics, computer sciences, applied sciences, physics, engineering and research, in addition to a full-motion simulator and ITEC Testing Center. That building will be approximately 80,000 square feet and is projected to cost $30 million. It could be complete and open by October 2019.
Most of the programs housed today in Otto Olsen will be moved to the “new Otto Olsen” building – Industrial Technology, Interior Design, Aviation, Computer Science and Information Technology. Two programs in Founders Hall (Mathematics and Statistics) and Bruner Hall (Physics and Astronomy, and Engineering) will be located in the new building, allowing for an applied “science, technology, engineering and math,” or STEM, focus. Applied STEM typically includes the application of these — things like construction and industry.
The university’s information technology framework and offices and personnel – Information Technology Services – will be moved to the Communications Center; and the glass and sculpture studio will be moved to the Fine Arts Building. Both relocations will include some basic accommodations renovation of those buildings.
Charles Bicak, vice chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, said both new buildings maximize opportunities for cross-discipline collaboration, while encouraging new research activity.
“The new STEM facility will provide another location for outstanding instruction and targeted undergraduate research, while encouraging synergy between programs from different colleges and enhancing community engagement,” Bicak said. “Both buildings will aid in integrating the programs into a cohesive learning paradigm based on real-world applications. For the STEM building in particular, the move will present a unique opportunity for the colleges of Natural and Social Science, Business and Technology, and Fine Arts and Humanities to advance and expand their academic programs and improve how they serve their community and rural Nebraska.”
EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION CENTER
The Early Childhood Education Center replaces the current Child Development Center space now in Otto Olsen, and expands the education focus of the center, while increasing space and the numbers of children who can be cared for.
A child care center has existed on campus since 1948 and has been located in West Center and other buildings on campus, before being located at Otto Olsen since the building was new in 1955.
The new Early Childhood Education Center will have capacity for 152 children, age six weeks to 6 years. Today’s Child Development Center serves 50 children of university faculty, staff and students, with a waiting list of 75.
The new Early Childhood Education Center will be a $6.4 million, 17,800-square-foot project and is projected to be complete in June 2019.
“The new ECEC is improving service to children, enhancing educational experiences for UNK students and faculty, and provides outreach to the community,” said College of Education Dean Sheryl Feinstein, a key planner on the project. “It will allow the current early education program to increase the quality of services provided and the capacity of the number of young children enrolled, including children with special needs and diversity.
“Early education programs, majors and minors, throughout the UNK campus will benefit from state-of-the-art learning environments that are not viable in the existing location,” Feinstein added. “A larger facility will also enable UNK and ECEC to increase collaborations that involve academics, research, and outreach to community, and state and national organizations.”
The current building, constructed in 1955, was designed for teaching vocational arts in the teacher’s college era. In addition to no longer serving current program needs and ADA accessibility issues, numerous physical deficiencies, HVAC controls and electrical systems make new construction more cost effective than renovation, said Jon Watts, UNK vice chancellor for business and finance.
With today’s approval, final designs will be developed, with construction beginning as soon as possible. Both projects will be construction-manager-at-risk, an option often undertaken to capitalize on contractors’ existing efficiencies and lower costs. An alternative to “design-bid-build,” the financing/contracting method will keep costs and risks low to the university, Watts said.
Kristensen, Watts and Bicak said affected faculty will continue to be engaged in the planning process, and designs and drawings will be announced as soon as they are ready. The locations for the buildings are subject to architect and engineer input.
Source: Kelly Bartling, Communications and Marketing, 308.865.8455, 308.224.7473, firstname.lastname@example.org