UNMC ceremony marks start of Wigton Heritage Center and Wittson Hall renovation

Published: Jun. 24, 2019 at 12:52 PM CDT
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The University of Nebraska Medical Center formally launched work on the Wigton Heritage Center and the renovation of Wittson Hall Monday.

The total cost of the dual project is $26 million. Renovation of Wittson Hall will cost $18 million with state funding provided by LB 957. Philanthropic support will cover the $8 million construction cost of the Wigton Heritage Center. The University of Nebraska Foundation continues to seek contributions for the programmatic costs associated with the Wigton Heritage Center.

Renovation of Wittson Hall has already begun. Construction of the Wigton Heritage Center will begin this summer. Completion of Wittson Hall will be in the second half of 2020, and the Wigton Heritage Center is planned to open in the first quarter of 2021.

The 10,000-square-foot, four-level Wigton Heritage Center will celebrate and memorialize UNMC’s history, while also serving as a campus welcome center. In addition, the project will replace the existing walkways between Wittson Hall and University Tower. The buildings will be connected through a multi-floor space.

Major funding for the Wigton Heritage Center has been committed by Robert Wigton, M.D., a 1969 alumnus of the College of Medicine who served as professor in internal medicine at UNMC and in several key administrative areas in the College of Medicine, including associate dean for graduate medical education.

The Leland J. and Dorothy H. Olson Charitable Foundation also provided a gift in support of the Wigton Heritage Center project. Leland Olson, M.D., and Dorothy Hodges Olson, both deceased, were University of Nebraska alumni and major contributors to UNMC for a variety of women's health and university initiatives. Dr. Olson, a respected obstetrician and gynecologist in Omaha, was a volunteer UNMC physician staff member and mentored medical interns in his practice.