Building up engineering education in Nebraska

September 18, 2019 |

In a partnership with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Kiewit is donating $20 million toward an $85 million expansion project. Part of the expansion includes a new facility, to be named Kiewit Hall, which will serve as the College of Engineering’s academic hub and will house the university’s construction management programs.

“As stewards of our community and the construction and engineering industry, Kiewit is happy to not only support the College of Engineering’s physical expansion, but also the strategic efforts to grow UNL’s engineering program into one of the best in the country,” said Bruce Grewcock, Kiewit’s chairman and chief executive officer.

Nebraska engineering offers programs in both Lincoln and Omaha, where Kiewit was founded and where its headquarters are located. By 2026, Nebraska will need nearly 15,000 new workers in the engineering and computer science fields.

“The powerful combination of Kiewit and UNL will significantly grow the impact of Nebraska Engineering,” said Chancellor Ronnie Green. “That is a top priority for the University of Nebraska. We are making great strides under the strong leadership of Dean Pérez, and I am so excited about the trajectory of this program.”

College of Engineering Dean Lance C. Pérez expects engineering enrollment at UNL to reach about 5,000 students within the decade, a 50 percent increase that would make it UNL’s second-largest college in terms of enrollment.

“The college is extremely grateful to Kiewit for this generous gift and continued partnership as we make critical investments to provide Nebraskans with world-class construction, computing and engineering education and research,” Pérez said.

Construction starts in October on the first phase of the expansion project, which was approved by the Nebraska Board of Regents in August 2018. The renovation of the Walter Scott Engineering Center — named after former Kiewit CEO Walter Scott’s father — Nebraska Hall, plus a 91,000-square-foot addition replacing a 1984 facility, is to be completed in 2022. If approved by the Board of Regents in October, Kiewit Hall will be built on the east side of UNL’s existing engineering complex.

The Abel family of Lincoln is a second major contributor to the project. Jim Abel, chairman and CEO of NEBCO, and his wife, Mary, are longtime civic leaders and their family’s support for the university goes back three generations. Other major donors have also responded to the university’s plans for a major investment in the $75 million engineering complex. Fundraising is actively continuing with engineering alumni and other donors so that all funds can be raised and this new building can meet its tentative completion date of 2023.

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