On Tuesday, Dec. 4, the University of Nebraska Board of Regents approved the program statement for a privately-funded, $20 million renovation of the Durham Science Center.
Fundraising for the project is actively under way. Under the proposal, construction would begin in May 2020 after funds are secured. Work is expected to run through August 2022.
The Durham Science Center has served as a hub of science education and research since it opened for classes in 1987. Cutting-edge at the time, much of the facility’s space and lab design is now in need of updates to better match current program needs. The program statement calls the building a prime candidate for renovation.
Proposed upgrades include new building systems, such as ductwork and plumbing; A/V equipment and signage upgrades; lab reconfiguration; and additional student gathering space.
College of Arts and Sciences Dean David Boocker said the renovation will strengthen UNO’s efforts in recruiting exceptional faculty and training students to be leaders in their fields.
“From geochemistry to biomedical physics, incredibly relevant and important research and education is happening every day in the Durham Science Center,” Boocker said. “This renovation will meet pressing department needs, fostering program growth and continued innovation.”
Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., said there is significant philanthropic interest in supporting the project.
“The Omaha community understands the value of rigorous science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in fueling Nebraska’s skilled workforce,” Dr. Gold said. “Modern resources in the Durham Science Center will help us evolve current efforts and identify new opportunities to expand STEM education and research. We are deeply grateful for the generosity of the donors who work with us to make this project possible.”
The Durham Science Center sits on the west end of UNO’s Dodge Campus. In addition to classrooms, offices and laboratories, it houses the Mallory Kountze Planetarium and the Math-Science Learning Center. The Durham Science Center is also home to the Aim for the Stars Science and Math Camp, as well as the popular outreach program CAPOW – Chemistry and Physics on Wheels.
Under the plan, renovation work will be phased, allowing continued facility use through the duration of the project.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.