Over the past several months, there have been renovations to multiple facilities on the Dodge Campus at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. These changes and additions are to Arts and Sciences Hall (ASH), the Strauss Performing Arts Center and the Biomechanics Research Building.
The renovations to Strauss are some of the most noticeable improvements to the campus, having been under construction for most of the last academic year and completed in April.
Originally built in 1973, Strauss has undergone a total renovation with the construction of a 25,000-square-foot addition to the facility. The new additions include a recital hall, a recording tracking room, a percussion studio, piano rehearsal spaces, teaching studios and a brand-new storage room for instruments.
Director of Athletic Bands and Assistant Director of Bands Dr. Joshua Kearney said the school is grateful to have adequate storage room and elevators to store and transport equipment.
“Before that, students were having to carry timpani up a set of stairs, which can be dangerous for students. I’m really thankful that floor exists and that they created that whole space in a way that made it safe for our students,” Kearney said.
As for the renovations to ASH, the project was started in January of 2019 and will go through August of 2020, said Associate Dean Dr. Randall Adkins. Renovations will focus mainly around addressing mechanical, electrical and plumbing issues.
“The purpose is to make the building more comfortable,” said Adkins, addressing temperature and lighting issues experienced by students and faculty.
More changes include renovations to 10 classrooms so far, ADA compliant changes to bathrooms and classrooms on the east side of the building, and additional renovations coming to the rest of the classrooms next year.
An ever-growing department, the Biomechanics Research Building will have its grand opening for its expansion in October 2019. The BRB will expand by 30,000 square feet thanks to an $11.6 million privately funded donation led by Ruth and Bill Scott.
More than doubling its size, the new BRB facilities will include more laboratories, a cardiovascular lab, a larger machine shop and 3-D printing lab, a lecture hall and offices for both graduates and undergraduates. The extra space is needed since the faculty has grown from 20 members to more than 70, said Dr. Nick Stergiou, director of the BRB.
Stergiou said that UNO is establishing its footprint in terms of research, and the expansions can only help them continue to grow.
“A university that is not traditionally a research university like UNO is now becoming one slowly but surely. I think that all this work we’re seeing here is a step in the right direction,” Stergiou said.