New UNK projects aim to attract students to rural Nebraska

New projects aim to attract students to rural Nebraska (NTV News)

With new buildings comes new programs and new amenities for students on one local campus, and staff said it may help attract more students to attend school in rural Nebraska.

University Village Flats is one of the projects happening on the University of Nebraska at Kearney campus this summer, but it's not the only one as there are many other big and small projects taking place as well.

"It's really an unprecedented time here on campus at UNK. There is just so much momentum going on right now," said UNK Director of Communications Todd Gottula.

With empty lots and re-models on many areas and buildings, UNK chancellor Doug Kristensen said students have a lot to look forward to this fall.

"I think we will be able to attract more students but the real key is being able to offer quality education and to do it in buildings that are suitable for teaching today. Buildings that were built in the 50s and the 40s were good buildings but today's needs: the technology needs, the accessibility needs. Those are all different now than what they were 50 or 60 years ago," said Kristensen.

Aside from those projects, construction will soon start on more of University Village, an early childhood education center, a renovated students union, as well as a sewer project which will give students a new fountain in the middle of campus.

"It's not just the buildings being built and all the exciting construction but it's really the programs inside those buildings that are teaching students. Sending them out in the workforce and giving back and getting them started in their careers in the community," said Gottula.

"It's a really competitive market but I think beyond competitive because that's recruiting of students. We're really doing a service to rural Nebraska and our mission is to serve rural Nebraska," said Kristensen.

Kristensen said they don't have to use taxpayer money to pay for the projects.

"None of these buildings are built with general tuition dollars or tax dollars because we are having a reduction in those areas. We have to reduce our spending. These are all monies that we are saving and have done with restricted forms of payment," said Kristensen.

University representatives said construction and remodels won't stop anytime soon as they have a lot more to look forward to in the future.

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