Coordinating Commission Approves New Ag Facilities at Northeast Community College

Published on: January 2, 2020

LINCOLN, NE – New facilities to replace nearly 100 year-old buildings will be constructed at Northeast Community College. During Tuesday’s meeting of the Northeast Board of Governors, it was reported that the Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education (CCPE) has approved programming statements for a new Veterinary Technology building and a Farm Operations and Large Animal building.

In its report, CCPE commissioners said, “This project would replace obsolete existing facilities to meet the needs of the students at (Northeast’s) Norfolk Campus.”

“While our faculty and staff have maintained these buildings to the best of their ability, our current agriculture facilities do not align well with providing a proper atmosphere for our agricultural students,” said Steve Schram, co interim president. “These new facilities that are Phase One of the new Agriculture and Water Center of Excellence will enhance opportunities for students in several of our ag programs. The coordinating commission’s action reaffirms the hard work of members on the project team and gets us to where we need to be today.”

The new 36,000 square foot Veterinary Technology facility and the 15,000 square foot Large Animal and Farm Operations building will be constructed near the College’s Chuck M. Pohlman Agriculture Complex, approximately one-mile east of the main campus in Norfolk.

The existing Veterinary Technology program is currently located in two facilities. Faculty offices, one classroom, and a pathology class laboratory are currently located in 2,600 square feet of space in the Agriculture and Allied Health building on the main campus. The program’s clinic is located on the College farm in a building originally constructed in 1920 as part of the working farm for the Norfolk Regional Center. The two facilities are nearly a mile apart.

Architect’s rendering of the proposed Veterinary Technology building at Northeast Community College

In approving the program statement, CCPE commissioners said a new Veterinary Technology building will consolidate the entire program into a single facility and allow for the expansion of enrollment to meet industry demand.

The existing Large Animal and Farm Operations spaces are also located in the original 1920 farm building that comprise 13,000 square feet of space.

A new Large Animal and Farm Operations building will provide similar types of spaces to the existing structure in a facility with appropriate interior height that would better meet the needs of both the farm operations and agricultural programs that would demonstrate modern farming operations.

Commissioners also expressed support on how the ag facility project will allow other growing programs to benefit from additional and supporting areas. Vacated spaces in the Ag/Allied Health building will allow the College to address existing academic needs for Medical Lab Science, Physical Therapist Assistant, or other allied health programs that are in demand and in need of additional space.

College officials estimate a total project cost for construction and equipment of Phase One of the Ag & Water project at $23.3 million with proposed sources of funding coming from a capital improvement fund of up to $14 million and private donations of at least $9.4 million. The capital campaign kicked off earlier this year with a $5 million lead gift from the Acklie Charitable Foundation.

The CCPE said that Northeast’s five-year Capital Improvement Fund Budget projects having “sufficient funds” to finance existing capital construction project obligations along with Phase I of the Ag & Water project. 

At Tuesday’s meeting, the Northeast Board of Governors unanimously approved final plans of Phase One in order to submit them for construction bids. Ground is scheduled to be broken on the new facilities this spring.