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Construction Projects Update

Published: 11-5-2013 9:35 am

For the first time since 1988, there is not a construction trailer on the Wayne State College campus. But that does not mean progress has ceased. Rather, the college has wrapped up several extensive projects and momentarily catching its breath before embarking on the next phase of dramatic improvements to the campus experience. 

Of course, no report on construction at Wayne State can proceed without due deference to the Wayne State Foundation. Many of the projects on campus are supported either fully or in large part by the foundationís fund-raising prowess.

The Carhart Science Building, which has been in a steady state of phased construction since 2005, is completely finished. The Wayne State Foundation contributed more than $2.7 million toward the project during the course of the three phases of construction. The remaining cost of more than $11 million came from cash, capital improvement fee, LB 605 and LB 309 Task Force.

Wayne State students now have access to some of the best laboratory facilities available to undergraduate students in the state of Nebraska. Additionally, the building houses the Fred G. Dale Planetarium and A. Jewell Schock Natural History Museum, both of which provide enriching opportunities in the sciences for our students and Northeast Nebraska. 

Dale Planetarium first opened its doors to the public in December 1969 as one of the first facilities of the newly constructed Carhart Science building to become operational.  Then in December 2009, a water pipe broke due to cold temperature and flooded the planetarium.  The planetarium closed for renovations and reopened its doors in October 2010. The planetarium now houses the most technologically advanced and educationally versatile planetarium in the state of Nebraska with a Spitz SciDome high-definition projection system that puts 3 million pixels on the 30 foot dome, can show 500 million stars, can look at space from any location in the solar system, can move backward and forward through time 100,000 years.

A. Jewell Schock Museum of Natural History houses more than 15,000 specimens of birds, mammals, invertebrates, plants, and fossils. The museum was created by Jewell Schock, former zoologist at Wayne State College. He collected and prepared specimens from Northeast Nebraska during a 30-year span. Schock was assisted over the years by numerous students and he used the collections to aid in teaching and science education and outreach. Dr. Barbara Hayford serves as director of the museum and curator of invertebrates, Dr. Mark Hammer is curator of the Charles Maier Herbarium, Dr. Ronald Loggins serves as curator of vertebrates, and Dr. Kelly Dilliard is curator of geology.  

The Willow Bowl project is finally complete, despite continued challenges posed by erratic weather. The campus landmark is now ADA compliant and serves as a beautiful anchor to the southwest corner of campus. The total cost for the project was nearly $900,000, with 100 percent coming from the Wayne State Foundation.

Weather also presented significant challenges to athletics projects this summer. Cunningham Field at Memorial Stadium now boasts new artificial turf for the fall 2013 football season. The project will significantly reduce maintenance costs over time and provide scheduling alternatives for student activities. The WSC soccer field was expanded and improved, receiving new sod in the process. The Wayne State Foundation raised $575,000 of the nearly $1.5 million required for the project. 

Other projects completed this summer include the roof and windows of Anderson Hall, the windows and entrances at Peterson Fine Arts Building, and many yards of sidewalk on the perimeter of campus. On the Network and Technology Systems (NATS) front, the campus became a 100 percent wireless network and internet environment for fall semester. Additionally, many classrooms on campus received upgraded technology during the summer as the result of careful planning, coordination and stewardship between NATS and the vice president of academic affairs, Dr. Michael Anderson.

The ubiquitous construction trailer will return in the spring as the college embarks on its next large-scale, phased construction project: U.S. Conn Library. The vision for the renovation of the Wayne State library, which was first advanced in college strategic planning meetings, emerged from a month of focused deliberations by the U.S. Conn Library Planning Steering Committee. Besides a full renovation of the facility, the college intends for the library to have a deep effect on student learning and signal to our students, faculty and staff the way learning excellence is defined at the college.

The 25-year run of continual construction trailers on campus, while interrupted by a momentary lull, signifies the hard work and dedication of Wayne State faculty and staff, as well as the tremendous support the college enjoys from its alumni and the Wayne State Foundation. The beauty and functionality of our facilities is a monument to their efforts.

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