Big changes coming to Downtown Lincoln

Lied Center and UNL School of Music using over $100 million for renovations and expansions

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN)- Within the next few months, the face of the Lied Center on 12th and Q in Downtown Lincoln will start to look a whole lot different.  A three-story expansion will house an educational theater, as well as a much larger lobby area.

“Currently it’s a little restricted with ticket lines running into people coming into the building who already have their tickets, so we really want the experience to be smooth, fast, and easy and just set yourselves up to see some of the greatest artists in the world,” said Bill Stephan Executive Director Lied  Center.

$25.5 million will be making Lincoln’s Lied Center more accessible for guests with mobility issues.  Bathrooms will also be upgraded, as the ones right now are very tight.  The educational event theater will be a brand new space, giving students more opportunities.

“It’s going to be a space that is totally dedicated to student education and special projects, which won’t be related to what’s happening in the main hall. It will give us a lot more flexibility in the future,” said Stephan.

Around $75 million will go to the school of music.  The current Westbrook music building will be torn down, and renovations will be made to Kimball Recital Hall.

“To put that type of importance, nearly a quarter of the overall money going just to the arts is incredible,” said Sergio Ruiz Director and Professor at Glenn Korff School of Music at UNL.

Over the last few years, attendance in the arts department has been trending down, but with these major improvements, the department hopes UNL will become a destination for artists of all kinds.

“In my four years here we have had some really remarkable people here like Yo-Yo Ma, we have some amazing people working with our students, and so these facilities are going to help enhance those opportunities,” said Ruiz.

The arts department is one of the most diverse on the UNL campus, and they want their new building to reflect that.

“It’s important to make sure that the new building has open arms to the community. Whether first-generation or not, LGBTQ, people have physical challenges. Those types of issues. Mental and physical wellbeing,” said Ruiz.

Most of the money came from private donors.  Construction is set to start in June.

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