Groundbreaking on new UNK Regional Engagement Center

It will be the first of its kind in the area.
Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 6:53 PM CDT
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KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - The University of Nebraska at Kearney plans to create a meeting space that Chancellor Doug Kristensen says is not present anywhere in the community or the region.

On Thursday, officials broke ground on the more than $15 million UNK Regional Engagement Center to be added to campus.

The groundbreaking ceremony was held to celebrate the start of the 52,000-square-foot facility, set to be built at UNK’s University Village development.

This is a public-private collaboration, featuring upscale office and meeting spaces and will serve as the centerpiece for the 104-acre University Village site.

Chancellor Kristensen said it will be a high-tech, first class meeting facility, capable for the Board of Regents, city council, but still flexible enough so that there can be individual presentations.

It will hold about 100 people.

Kristensen said it will be a benefit for businesses or industries that want to have a presence in rural Nebraska.

“I think this will be a magnet to attract other businesses that want to be part of the university,” he said.

Kristensen said he thinks there will be more health care type facilities joining the center, but also thinks any state agencies who can’t afford a standalone building would benefit from a center like this.

“This is a very unique opportunity,” he said. “Most communities don’t have an urban village and rural community; Kearney will.”

He adds that things like this help the university attract good students and great faculty.

“And that’s what we live off of, great faculty and good students.”

The initial tenants for the UNK Regional Engagement Center are UNK Alumni Association and University of Nebraska Foundation, Allo Communications, Chief Industries and Olsson.

The building should be complete sometime in 2023.

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