KEARNEY – More than 700 people toured the new Health Science Education Complex at the University of Nebraska at Kearney Thursday during its grand opening and ribbon cutting.
The event culminated nearly three years of planning and activity to bring the new $19 million Health Science building, a partnership between University of Nebraska Medical Center and UNK, to reality.
The programs going into Health Science will fulfill a need for expanded education opportunities for nurses and new opportunities for allied health professions. Those professions include physicians assistant, physical therapist, clinical laboratory scientist, radiographer and diagnostic medical sonographer, in addition to new graduate nursing and expanded undergraduate nursing opportunities at UNMC.
In turn, Nebraskans will have greater access to health care because of increased access to training.
The grand opening of the $19 million, 46,000-square-foot education complex marks months of dreaming, planning, coalition-building, fundraising, and fine-tuning of programs and clinical and outreach opportunities that will be offered in this building on UNK’s western-most edge.
SELECT QUOTES FROM THURSDAY’S RIBBON CUTTING
“The collaboration for the health science complex has begun. It’s tremendous. This is a historic start for all of us. Ribbon cuttings mark beginnings and the end of construction projects, but today is really the beginning.”
“It represents much more than the beautiful brick, glass and chrome. It represents a true partnership, for both the medical center and the UNK campus. We could not have done this on our own. But together we produced a tremendous building.”
“Ceremonies like this are important because it gives us a moment to stop and pause, and mark a point in history.”
Hank Bounds, University of Nebraska President
“This may be the largest collaborative effort in the history of the university. It’s not just about the building. It’s all the things that will occur inside and out in the communities.”
“What a great day for Kearney. What a great day for the University of Nebraska. What a great new addition to our university system.”
Jeff Gold, UNMC Chancellor
“I reflect on the mission of UNMC. UNMC’s mission is to lead the world in transforming lives for a healthier future. This project really demonstrates all components of the mission. We lead the world through education, creating a health care workforce. We lead the world through research by making sure we identify the cures for diseases of today and preventions and screenings for the diseases of tomorrow. We lead the world through critical care by making sure patients and families always have a place they know they can get care. But today epitomizes another way that we at the University of Nebraska system lead the world – and that’s through collaboration, partnerships and teamwork.
“This beautiful building represents a collaboration between architects and those who construct it. It represents a wonderful collaboration between the taxpayers and the legislature of the state of Nebraska and the private business community and philanthropists who made this happen. It represents a collaboration between the great campuses at the University of Nebraska. It represents a collaboration between rural and urban needs for the health care workforce and health care delivery. It represents a collaboration between the health care professions.”
Charlie Bicak, UNK Senior Vice Chancellor of Academic and Student Affairs
“Today is a humbling day. It reminds me how little is accomplished when working on one’s own and how much is accomplished in working together. It takes a team to successfully accomplish those things that lead to this sort of initiative.
“This will allow university students in rural areas of Nebraska to continue their medical education right here in Kearney. This building and the academic programs that will be delivered are a University of Nebraska system installment in enhancing quality healthcare.”