Renovation projects planned at UNMC

August 11, 2017

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The University of Nebraska Board of Regents today voted to approve two renovation-related items at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Renovation projects are planned for the Joseph D. & Millie E. Williams Science Hall, formerly home to the College of Pharmacy, which moved into a new facility in 2016; and Wittson Hall, which houses the McGoogan Library of Medicine, as well as office space for campus administration and educational space for the UNMC Colleges of Medicine and Allied Health Professions.

The regents today voted to:

  • Approve the $18 million renovation of Wittson Hall, which will continue the work of previous deferred maintenance funds by renovating an additional 77,289 net square feet to prepare Wittson Hall for continued service.
  • Approve the selection of RDG Planning & Design with The Clark Enersen Partners to provide architectural design consultation services for a $10 million renovation of the Joseph D. & Millie E. Williams Science Hall.

The Wittson Hall renovation, funded by the signing of LB 957 into law, will restore the nearly 50-year-old building to current Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and life safety standards, renovate restrooms and remodel or repurpose space on all eight levels including reorganizing and remodeling about 49,500 square feet in the McGoogan Library and Wigton History of Medicine archives to provide state-of-the-art library and study space adapted for the predominance of digital media. The project also will update two class labs for allied health, replace the gross anatomy lab air handling system and enlarge its locker rooms.

One of the more visible features of the renovation will be the addition of large exterior windows that allow natural light to fill the McGoogan Library’s three floors. "The biggest obstacle in getting students to the library is the lighting," said McGoogan Library Director Emily McElroy. "It’s really dreary, so bringing in natural lighting will make a big difference."

Students also will see more study spaces and flexible hours, including 24-7 badge access to designated areas, McElroy said, fulfilling the top requests made by students. The project is slated to begin in June 2018 with completion the following summer.

The Williams Science Hall renovation project, approved by the regents this past June, will replace obsolete mechanical and electrical systems, install larger restrooms that are compliant with the ADA and update the building's telecommunications infrastructure.

The Williams Science Hall will serve as the home for the UNMC High School Alliance and will repurpose space to house UNMC Student Services, Graduate Studies and International Health and Medical Education offices. Several pharmacy investigators will keep their labs in the renovated facility. Construction is expected to begin in March 2018 with completion in February 2019.

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