The University of Nebraska–Lincoln has launched a restoration of the Nebraska Union’s original R Street entrance.
The project, which started during UNL’s holiday break, includes storm water drainage improvements, new windows, a cleaning of the south façade, expanded access to fire exits, and new landscaping to showcase the original entrance to the 77-year-old building.
Long-term plans for the space include the addition of bench seating.
“This is a transformational project designed to create a more welcoming entrance to City Campus and the Nebraska Union,” said Ryan Lahne, associate director of the Nebraska Unions. “When complete, the original 1938 part of the Nebraska Union will be cleaned up and open for all to see and enjoy.”
The initial phase is focused on directing storm water drainage away from the building.
“This phase is really the most immediate piece because the old drainage system had collapsed and water was coming into the building,” Lahne said. “The new drainage system directs rainwater away from the building and solves one of our most significant building issues.”
Snowfall in late December delayed the start of the drainage improvements. Portions of the sidewalk along the R Street side of the Nebraska Union were closed to accommodate the work the week of Jan. 4.
Emily Casper, a landscape architect with Facilities Maintenance and Operations, said a temporary sidewalk is scheduled for installation before the start of classes on Jan. 11.
Work on the drainage improvements will continue into the first two weeks of the spring semester. The R Street sidewalk will remain open during the remainder of the project.
Remaining elements of the upgrade to the Nebraska Union’s R Street entrance will launch in the summer.
The Nebraska Union underwent other improvement projects during UNL’s shutdown between the fall and spring semesters. Those projects include:
Lighting upgrades on the first floor and food court. Some of the work will continue through the first weeks of the spring semester.
Carpet replacement on the second floor of the union and Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center.
A facelift to the ballroom. The work includes lighting upgrades, new paint on the ceiling and new curtains.
The start of demolition that will create a Big Ten Meeting room in the southeast corner of the building’s first floor, in a space previously occupied by Wells Fargo Bank.
The installation of new LED lights in Broyhill Fountain.
The launch of a competitive bid process to attract a new food vendor into the space previously occupied by Subway Pizza Express and Auntie Anne’s Pretzels. The pizza/pretzel vendor closed at the end of the fall semester. Lahne said bids are scheduled for review in the spring with a new vendor in the space and operational by Aug. 1.