Nebraska Innovation Campus project making progress - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Nebraska Innovation Campus project making progress

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By: Kayla Bremer

The old state fair grounds now known as Nebraska Innovation Campus has been undergoing a major makeover.

One of the buildings undergoing renovation is celebrating a major milestone this year.  Big changes are coming for the Industrial Arts Building but it was important for the outer appearance to remain the same.

The building has been standing on what used to be Nebraska's state fair grounds for a century.  Built in 1913, the Industrial Arts Building is now getting new life as a greenhouse.

The university initially planned on demolishing the building, but preservationists cried out, asking to save a piece of Nebraska's history.

"There is some unique architecture used in here," Executive Director of Nebraska Innovation Campus Dan Duncan said.  "There were some unique things that happened in this building and so the preservation community really felt strongly that we should try to save the building as much as possible."

The 80 million dollar project will renovate the Industrial Arts and 4–H buildings and includes the construction of two new ones that will all be connected.

Within the next couple of weeks, contractors will take off the roof and dismantle the interior trusses of the Industrial Arts Building but the outside look will stay the same.

"The goal is to just keep those exterior walls, which you see in the background, to keep that as the, in a way the footprint and the main structure of the project," Mitch Holt of Nebraska Nova said.

North of the greenhouse will stand a new laboratory and office building.  Duncan says this will definitely benefit the university.

"Number one, create opportunities for faculty and students with private companies," Duncan said.  "Economic development, create jobs and very good high paying jobs and create a culture of people that are working on innovative new projects."

Much of the project, including the greenhouse and offices are expected to be completed by this time next year.  Project managers say the laboratory should be open by September.

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