UNMC breaks ground on campus expansion project

Published: Oct. 6, 2021 at 5:15 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - After years of planning, purchasing land, and moving businesses - demolition has begun on the northwest corner of Saddle Creek Road and Farnam Street as the University of Nebraska Medicine begins its years-long campus expansion project.

“You’ll also see we’ve got land south of there, as well and were working on the administrative facility for that land, as well were working on a tech transfer facility and an innovation facility,” says Brian Spencer, the Executive Director of campus development and real estate.

The two exiting buildings west of Saddle Creek will become what will be called the ‘Innovation Hub.’

“[It]’s aimed at helping folks with bright ideas from around our institution and around the region bring those ideas to market and connect with the university and our academic research in a really positive way to generate ideas, generate businesses, and ultimately generate economic growth around our region,” Spencer says.

The redeveloped land will be home to university entities like UNeMed and UNeHealth, where clinical trials are contracted. It will also house UNeTech, which coordinates business startups Spencer mentioned.

But the area will also offer commercial space, a food hall, restaurants, housing, and possibly hotels.

‘The goal at this point is to generate some space that is adjacent to the university but provides a great buffer to the neighborhoods and lives part of our mission of making the med center area and midtown Omaha and the greater Omaha area the greatest place to live work and play in the country.”

In partnership with the city, roads in the area will be redone and parking garages constructed to support the area’s new development.

Plans also include a pedestrian bridge over Saddle Creek road that connects to the main campus, Spencer says it’s a win-win.

“We’re going to have a lot safer crossing for all our staff that may park or live west of Saddle Creek that won’t clog up those intersections during those busy morning hours for people trying to get to downtown or from downtown west, we’ll increase safety and increase throughput on these streets.”

This portion of the expansion totals $45 million and the first buildings are expected to be complete in the next two to three years.

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