UNK takes strides in STEM field with new facility

KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - UNK is looking to take new strides in the stem field with their newest facility. While the building is not fully built yet, students and faculty took a moment to appreciate the progress.

What may seem like some metal beams and concrete is actually a classroom.

“Well the interesting thing is that we are already using the building,” Assistant Professor Dale Porter said. “They've already offered us the plans for this which we've incorporated to about three of our classes.”

The building will have a few classrooms and a lot of lab space dedicated to research and collaboration across fields.

Staff and students who will use the building signed the final metal beam that will hold it all together.

“Technology has really changed the way we can do hands on education so we're thrilled about this building because of some of those specialized lab spaces,” Vice Chancellor Jon Watts said.

The $30 million building is being paid for by renewal bonds through the state. It replaces the Otto Olsen building built in the 50's. There has already been an increase in interest for the STEM courses to be taught there.

“I've taught at other universities where a new building can make all the difference,” Porter said. “It's its own recruiting tool. parents come with their sons and daughters, they're looking for a particular direction and they see a brand new building and they have to walk in.”

The building is expected to be finished in spring of 2020 and there are plans for classes to be held that semester.