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UNK’s Otto Olsen building comes down

Demolition crew working to knock down the Otto Olsen building on the UNK campus.
Demolition crew working to knock down the Otto Olsen building on the UNK campus.(KSNB)
Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 4:55 PM CDT
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KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - The University of Nebraska at Kearney took the final steps of removing its last building as part of its campus master plan early Thursday morning.

The vacant Otto C. Olsen building was the final of the four vacant buildings on campus to be removed.

With much of the interior already gutted, Chancellor Doug Kristensen brought down the first wall on the west half of the building. Bricks, glass and metal crunched under the arm of the excavator as a handful of people gathered to watch.

“There’s probably two buildings that are left on campus that are the last vestiges of Kearney State College and this clearly one of them,” Kristensen said. “This is probably the most visible one of that, I think memorial students affairs building that sometime in the future will leave us. This is the end of what we had envisioned for discovery hall.”

With crews working on demolition to clear the space, it will allow UNK to eliminate space costs and avoid significant investments in deferred maintenance costs.

As of right now, there are no plans for the space the building occupies.

“There’s no immediate plans for the area but it’s certainly as you say we’re planning every day and this will certainly become attractive spot in the middle of campus,” said Kristensen.

Kristensen said the space will consist of additional parking and a green space, but haven’t discussed replacing the building with an upgraded one.

Building demolition will continue over the next few weeks, and the site will continue to be graded and cleaned up the remainder of the summer and this fall.

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