Wayne State College

Wayne State and Partners Break Ground on Career Scholar Housing in Norfolk

Published Monday, August 28th, 2023

Breaking ground for Phillip Avenue Apartments
Groundbreakers, from left to right: Brogan Jones, Wayne State student and career scholar; Angie Stenger, Executive Director of Northeast Nebraska Growing Together; Nick Dropinski, Nebraska Department of Economic Development; Austen Hagood, President/CEO of Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce; Andy Colvin, Norfolk City Administrator; Mike Flood, U.S. Representative for Nebraska; Dr. Marysz Rames, President of Wayne State College; Sandy Wolfe, Co-Owner and Secretary of NeighborWorks Northeast Nebraska; Kelby Herman, General Contractor; Aaron Otten, CEO of Elkhorn Valley Bank and Trust; Debbie Borg, representing Pete Ricketts, U.S. Senator for Nebraska; and Kim Kwapnioski, Midtown Health Center.

Ground was broken Aug. 28 for the second housing development, Phillip Avenue Apartments, to be used by the Growing Together Career Scholars program.

Wayne State College, in collaboration with the development group of Kelby Herman and NeighborWorks Northeast Nebraska (NWNEN), proudly announces that ground was broken Aug. 28 for the second housing development to be used by the Growing Together Career Scholars program. The new housing will be at 414 W. Phillip Ave., in Norfolk.

The housing units will support Wayne State’s career scholars, who will live in downtown Norfolk their senior year as they perform two semesters of cooperative education with an employer. WSC’s first cohort of seniors arrived in Norfolk in Fall 2023. Those students currently live in apartments developed by DEG Enterprises and DACO Construction. The new units will house the second cohort of seniors, who will move to Norfolk in Fall 2024.

Speakers at the event included WSC President Marysz Rames; Roger Nadrchal, CEO of NWNEN; U.S. Congressman Mike Flood; Norfolk City Administrator Andy Colvin; Kelby Herman, owner and contractor; and Sandy Wolfe, owner and NWNEN secretary.

“I want to express my sincere gratitude to NeighborWorks Northeast Nebraska and Kelby Herman for joining Wayne State on this venture,” President Rames said. We so appreciate your willingness to step up to the plate to be a part of this program. You are now officially part of the Wayne State Cooperative Education program … welcome to the Growing Together and Wildcat family!”

The land for the apartments was purchased from the Midtown Health Center in July 2022.

“We are excited to work with other partners to help meet the need of additional housing units for the community of Norfolk and Northeast Nebraska,” said Roger Nadrchal, CEO of NWNEN.

“This is like a dream come true for a lot of us,” said U.S. Congressman Mike Flood, who went on to thank the partners for their work with the project. “We are already talking to employers across the state that want to locate their businesses in Norfolk because of the caliber and the quality of these young people coming out of Wayne State College.”

Andy Colvin, on behalf of the City of Norfolk, thanked everyone in attendance then noted the work that went into making the project a reality.

“I remember when Mike Flood came to me and Mayor Josh Moenning to talk about this idea that he had to form a task force of leaders and we didn’t really understand what it was but as you saw it come together, you could see the partnerships and the energy start developing from those conversations. As we have let things sort of happen, it has evolved on its own and I am proud to see all the progress that’s happened in the community during the past five or six years,” Colvin said.

“I want to thank Wayne State College and the leaders of Norfolk for bringing the program to Norfolk,’ said Kelby Herman, owner and developer of the project. “As an employer and the father of two college-aged children, I think this is an awesome opportunity to keep our young people in Northeast Nebraska.”

“NeighborWorks Northeast Nebraska is close to 1,000 housing units developed since 1994,” said Sandy Wolfe, secretary of NWNEN. “We do very little on our own. We reply completely on partners. So thank you to all of our partners involved in this partnership. We extend our gratitude to Wayne State College, Congressman Mike Flood, Growing Together, Midtown Health Center, City of Norfolk, Nebraska Department of Economic Development, Greater Norfolk Economic Development Foundation, Elkhorn Vally Bank & Trust, and, of course, co-owner Kelby Herman, a great partner with many projects with NeighborWorks.”

"Today was not only a groundbreaking of new student housing, but the beginning of countless student memories, friendships, and journeys that will take place in Norfolk,” said Michael Keibler, executive director of cooperative education at Wayne State. “This is a testament to partnerships between the community, leadership, students, and Wayne State College, and to the development of an interconnected lifestyle, and the vibrant future that awaits the Growing Together Career Scholar students.”

Cooperative education combines classroom education with hands-on work experience for college credit. Wayne State’s Career Scholars Cooperative Education Program supports workforce and economic development in Northeast Nebraska. To participate, students must be passionate about earning a degree in one of the eligible fields and must be committed to work in Northeast Nebraska. The Norfolk living experience aims to help students connect with the community and gain an appreciation for the many exciting social and cultural opportunities available in the city of Norfolk. Upon graduation, the goal is for students to be hired into full-time positions in Northeast Nebraska.

NeighborWorks Northeast Nebraska has partnered with Kelby Herman on other housing projects in Norfolk; Nor-Park Subdivision and the River Fork Villas, which are under construction at this time, as well as the Quail Meadows subdivision in Columbus. NWNEN has been developing housing since 1994 and Herman has been developing and building homes since 2006.  

To learn more about Wayne State’s Career Scholars program, visit www.wsc.edu/career-scholars.

For information: Michael Keibler at [email protected] or 402-375-7198.