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2012.10.22 > For Immediate Release
contact: Charley Reed - University Relations
phone: 402.554.2129 - email: cdreed@unomaha.edu

Groundbreakings for Biomechanics, Community Engagement Buildings on Oct. 24

Omaha - The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) will hold not one, but a pair of groundbreaking ceremonies on Wednesday, Oct. 24. The groundbreakings mark two exciting building projects, a Biomechanics Research Building and Community Engagement Center, that will further the university’s goals of cutting edge research and community outreach.

The Biomechanics Research Building groundbreaking ceremony takes place first at 3 p.m. in UNO parking lot N, near the Health, Physical Education and Recreation Building and University Drive Road South on the university's Dodge Street campus. University of Nebraska President J.B. Milliken, UNO Chancellor John Christensen and College of Education Dean Nancy Edick will give remarks.

The Research Building will be a 23,000-square-foot facility dedicated to biomechanics, a field that applies the laws of mechanics and physics to human movement. When completed, the building will be located on the southwest side of Caniglia Field and will connect with the Health, Physical Education and Recreation Building.

This project will give UNO’s Nebraska Biomechanics Core Facility greatly expanded research and classroom space; additionally, it will be one of the first buildings in the world dedicated to biomechanics research. The Core Facility’s work, led by Professor Nick Stergiou, has led to new treatments for people who have mobility problems due to aging or stroke, or due to diseases like Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis and peripheral arterial disease.

This $6 million project is funded entirely through private support. The lead donors are Ruth and Bill Scott Family. The building will be completed in 2013.

“I’ll never forget the first time I met Dr. Stergiou and heard about his amazing research,” Ruth Scott said. “He and his staff are improving the lives of people of all ages throughout the world, and it’s incredibly inspiring.”

Stergiou, in addition to serving as director of the Core Facility, holds the Isaacson Professorship.

The Community Engagement Center groundbreaking ceremony follows the 3 p.m. event, starting at 5 p.m. The 5 p.m. groundbreaking also takes place in parking lot N. Milliken and Christensen will give remarks during this second ceremony.

The 60,000-square-foot Community Engagement Center will be located south of the Criss Library and west of the CPACS building; the building will serve as both the front door to the campus and as the university’s signature outreach venue. The center, which has a completion date of 2014, will support and allow for expansion of university-community partnerships, help meet growing demands for community meeting and planning space and extend the campus’ logistical resources to its community partners.

The $24 million project has three lead donors: The Barbara and Wally Weitz Family Foundation, the Ruth and Bill Scott Family and Union Pacific.

“The Weitz Family Foundation is so excited about the possibilities that the Community Engagement Center at UNO has for exponentially expanding the city’s agencies and government services’ capacities to serve all of its citizens,” Barbara Weitz said. “We have seen the collaborations between university professors and students with community agencies and school systems unleash energy and ideas that have brought immense value to all involved.”

The Community Engagement Center will be the focus of national attention in 2015 when the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU) holds its national meeting on campus. The conference’s theme, “A Love of Place: The Metropolitan Advantage,” meshes with the goals of the building. Chancellor Christensen is currently serving as CUMU’s president.

Christensen said both projects will strengthen UNO’s importance to the metro area, the state and beyond.

“UNO continues to evolve and improve to meet the needs of our community,” Christensen said. “Both of these new buildings, funded with private support, are truly cutting edge. Biomechanics research puts UNO on the map both nationally and internationally, and the knowledge gained in the Core Facility helps the very young to the very old. The Engagement Center furthers the university’s leadership role in community outreach, and is already attracting attention from nationally renowned engagement scholars.”

For more information, contact Charley Reed at 402.554.2129.

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The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s metropolitan university. The core values of the institution place students at the center of all that the university does; call for the campus to strive for academic excellence; and promote community engagement that transforms and improves urban, regional, national and global life. UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908.

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© 2014 University Communications. voice: 402.554.2129, fax: 402.554.3541, unonews@unomaha.edu