Construction of the privately funded, $115 million Kiewit Hall at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln reached a major milestone on Wednesday as a special beam-signing ceremony was held to frame the new College of Engineering building slated to open in early 2024.
Though Kiewit Hall is still more than a year from completion, both UNL Chancellor Ronnie Green and University of Nebraska President Ted Carter noted at the ceremony that the physical structure has already established itself on campus and has laid the foundation for meeting growing workforce needs across the state.
“This amazing structure will be one of the centerpieces as you come on to campus,” Carter said. “I've heard from Nebraskans how important it is that we as a university system, particularly our flagship here at the University of Nebraska Lincoln, be hand-in-glove with the business community and how we're going to build out the future professions, particularly in engineering and STEM-based fields for the great state of Nebraska.
“We cannot grow this state without filling that workforce. Kiewit Hall is the answer.”
David Miles, executive vice president of Kiewit Corp. and a Nebraska Engineering alumnus, agreed that Kiewit Hall will be instrumental in strengthening the state through its workforce.
“There’s no doubt that today and well into the future there’s a need for strong, well-rounded engineers, and this is a great example of Kiewit’s commitment to stewardship, not only for our own company and our people, but for the community, the generations to come, and the graduates that will be coming to work in our industry.”
Engineering Dean Lance C. Pérez said the importance of Kiewit Hall will be its impact on generations of future College of Engineering graduates.
“What’s really important about this building (will be) what’s happening inside of it,” Perez said. “Kiewit Hall is dedicated to the undergraduate experience … and students in Nebraska will be learning engineering and performing physical tasks. It has taken the College of Engineering to the forefront in the Big Ten, which is without question the single-best collection of colleges of engineering in the world.”
Gracie Kerr, a sophomore civil engineering major from Omaha and one of the inaugural cohort of 10 Kiewit Scholars, was excited about what Kiewit Hall will offer for her and future engineering students.
“Kiewit Hall will grant every engineering student the ability to learn as much as possible, to achieve their full potential, and to grow into a top-notch engineer,” Kerr said. “By ensuring that all Nebraska Engineering graduates leave prepared to make a difference, it is inevitable that the world will be changed for the better.”
Kiewit Corp. of Omaha announced its major support for the expansion initiative in 2019 and has provided $25 million to the project.
The new Kiewit Hall is part of an overall $190 million expansion and facilities transformation for the College of Engineering on City Campus. A new Engineering Research Center features enhanced spaces for research labs, graduate students, and several academic departments, and Scott Engineering Center is being renovated.
UNL is home to the sole College of Engineering in the state of Nebraska, supplying engineering education and leadership in technology-based economic development for the state, the nation and the world. The College of Engineering offers the state's only nationally accredited undergraduate degree programs, as well as 13 master's programs and 11 doctoral programs. Nebraska Engineering programs are offered on City Campus and East Campus in Lincoln and Scott Campus in Omaha.
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