Regents Approve $36.4M Two-Building Project for Kearney Campus

Mon February 13, 2017 - Midwest Edition

Photos courtesy of HDR Engineering
Photos courtesy of HDR Engineering

The University of Nebraska Board of Regents has approved construction of two buildings on the Kearney campus at a total estimated cost of $36.4 million.

The board approved the move to replace the aging Otto C. Olsen Building, the Kearney Hub reported. The Olsen building houses several colleges and programs, including the College of Education Early Childhood Education Center.

The larger of the planned two-building project would house a number of the University of Nebraska at Kearney's science, technology, engineering and math programs. It would feature state-of-the-art labs for a variety of sciences, including virtual design, mechanical products and mechatronics, hydraulics and pneumatics and computer sciences. The building will be about 80,000 sq. ft. (7,432 sq m) and is projected to cost $30 million. It could be completed by October 2019, officials said.

The other building, a proposed $6.4 million, 17,800-sq.-ft. (1,653 sq m) project, would house the Early Childhood Education Center and have the capacity to support 152 children — triple the capacity currently housed in the Olsen building.

The Otto Olsen child-care center is capped at an enrollment of 50 young children, leaving a long waiting list for students and faculty who would like to enroll their children in the program.

“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,' UNK Chancellor Doug Kristensen said. “Otto Olsen, which sits in the center of our campus, has not served our needs for some time.'

The project proposes demolishing the 66,000-sq.-ft. (6,131 sq m) Olsen building, which currently does not comply with fire codes and requirements to be accessible to the disabled.—CEG