Construction Management partners with Wilkins Hinrichs Stober Architects
By TODD GOTTULA
KEARNEY – Construction of the Central Nebraska Veterans’ Home won’t begin in Kearney for another year.
But a group of construction management and interior design students at the University of Nebraska at Kearney already is deep into a project that will be used to showcase the facility publicly and lock in design plans.
UNK students are partnering with lead designer Wilkins Hinrichs Stober Architects of Kearney to build a full-scale mockup of member bedroom suites that will house residents of the $121 million Veterans’ Home.
“This is big. And it makes perfect sense for us to be involved,” said Nate Barry, UNK industrial technology assistant professor. “It is quite a project to introduce students to the building process.”
Using blueprints from Wilkins Hinrichs Stober Architects, UNK students will build and furnish the room, which will be completely finished with bathroom fixtures, flooring, windows, doors and other features.
Students recently began pouring concrete and constructing walls of the 16- by 22-foot room, and it is planned for completion and will be displayed in Grand Island beginning in July. Barry said the model eventually will be relocated and displayed at the new construction site in northeast Kearney and remain for the duration of the project’s construction.
When completed, the mockup will be inspected and analyzed by nurses, veterans, community members, contractors, owners and others involved.
More than 40 UNK students from multiple classes are involved, and Barry said they’ve “taken ownership” of the project.
“We sat down right away and made sure there was buy in because this is going to require long hours outside the classroom,” Barry said. “The kids know this will involve evenings, weekends and is a big commitment.”
Barry said the Veterans’ Home project is “much larger in scope” than anything construction management and interior design students have ever taken on at UNK. “We’ve never had an opportunity like this. It is a chance to showcase our students and give back to the community at the same time.”
Construction of the 225-bed Central Nebraska Veterans’ Home is planned to begin in early 2016.
Barry’s goal is to show interior design and construction management students how they can influence and add value to the pre-construction side of a project.
“This is ideal for showing them how a mockup is used when it comes to selecting materials, value engineering and saving money,” Barry said. “Hopefully, this kick starts their interest so they go into their junior and senior years and know what they can do with their degrees.”
Eklund said she already is impressed with the attention to detail UNK students are showing.
“It’s a very professional, talented group of students who bring a lot to the table,” Eklund said. “They are really on top of things. The students have taken the information we gave them and really gone with it. They are taking this very seriously and making a large impact on the project.”
Barry said Wilkins Hinrichs Stober Architects deserves credit for reaching out to the university and getting UNK students involved. In addition to Eklund, Project Architect Wes Seals and the firm’s managing principle, Scott Stober, are working with UNK.
“This whole thing has been driven by WHS. They have been unbelievable. We can’t thank them enough for the professional opportunity they are providing our students. It is great collaboration that benefits everybody involved,” he said. “We expect this to expand into a long-term relationship where our students are involved in other facets for the duration of the veterans’ home construction.”
Writer: Todd Gottula, UNK Director of Communications, 308.865.8454, firstname.lastname@example.org
UNK Contact: Nate Barry, assistant professor industrial technology, 308.865.8733, email@example.com
Wilkins Hinrichs Stober Contact: Kali Eklund, project manager, 308.237.5787, firstname.lastname@example.org