Construction start of new health center, nursing building to be celebrated

Construction start of new health center, nursing building to be celebrated

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Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture
An artist's rendering of the 107,000-square-foot joint building for the new University Health Center and the UNMC College of Nursing Lincoln Division building.

University leaders on Dec. 9 will celebrate the start of construction on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Health Center and University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing Lincoln Division building. The celebration and reception, at 11 a.m. in the Van Brunt Visitors Center, is open to the university community and the public.

The 107,000-square-foot building will be built with both state and private funds and represents a partnership between the two institutions to better serve students, open new opportunities for efficiencies and expand university programming in a critical workforce area. It will be built on City Campus, along Antelope Valley Parkway near 19th and S streets, and will be divided between the health center and nursing college space.

One half – 54,000 square feet – will replace the current health center for students at Nebraska with a state-of-the-art clinic with programmatic capacity to expand health-care services and to consolidate Counseling and Psychological Services into one location. The other half will house the new 53,000-square-foot UNMC College of Nursing facility, which will allow UNMC to attract more students to meet the state’s need for nurses.

Site work began in November and the new building is expected to open in mid-2018. Lincoln-based Hausmann Construction is the general contractor. Speakers on Dec. 9 include Hank Bounds, president of the University of Nebraska system; Chancellor Ronnie Green and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Juan Franco; UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey Gold; Juliann Sebastian, dean of UNMC's College of Nursing; Harris Frankel, senior vice president and chief medical officer of Nebraska Medicine; and Brian Hastings, president and CEO of the University of Nebraska Foundation.

The existing 46,000-square-foot student health center at 1500 U St. was opened in 1958. The new facility will offer students at Nebraska a contemporary, private and easily accessible atmosphere for health care, facilitate an improved patient experience and accommodate an expected student usage increase. The center sees about 44,000 visits a year, a number estimated to reach 61,500 by 2020 based on expected enrollment growth.

The new health center also will provide medical, dental and physical therapy clinic areas designed to current standards of care, with infrastructure to house contemporary health-care technology. Nebraska Medicine, UNMC's primary clinical partner, employs physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and other staff for the University Health Center.

"It is a wise use of resources to devote one building to these two health-related uses and a smart way for our two institutions, both so important to Nebraskans, to work together to benefit our students and our state," Green said. "Our new University Health Center will facilitate the highest quality of student patient care, and it represents a significant step forward in the overall student experience at Nebraska."

The cost of the College of Nursing portion has been estimated at $19.8 million; the University Health Center portion, $24 million. Student fees will fund the health center portion. The nursing portion is funded through state and private contributions.

"We in the College of Nursing are so grateful for the support from donors and the Legislature," Sebastian said. "This will be an amazing facility that will provide the space to educate more students, attract more nursing faculty and raise the level of nursing education and research. The space will be configured to provide active learning in contemporary learning environments, and strengthen opportunities for inter-professional learning and research.

"This is what 21st-century learning and discovery are all about and we thank our partners for making this possible."

Bringing the two programs together enables both institutions to enjoy savings and increase effectiveness in utilities, space and technology, Sebastian said. Since the establishment of the UNMC college's Lincoln Division in 1974, it has been in several spaces on or near City Campus. In 2005, it moved to its current leased space in downtown Lincoln.

The following individuals and organizations made donations to the NU Foundation in support of the nursing facility:

  • Ruth and Bill Scott of Omaha as an initial challenge gift;
  • Del A. Lienemann Sr. of Lincoln, with the Lienemann Charitable Foundation and Ethel S. Abbott Charitable Foundation, in memory of Charlotte Lienemann;
  • Duane and Phyllis Acklie of Lincoln;
  • Drs. Dennis and Teresa Anderson of Omaha;
  • Assurity Life Insurance Co.;
  • Estate of Sharon K. Holmberg; and
  • Dr. David M. Schmidt and Marla Schmidt of Lincoln.