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The Antelope

Construction projects underway at library, rural health building

Construction workers put together the framework for the Rural Health Initiative Building. Photo by Ricardo Hernandez / Antelope Staff

While it may not be evident at first glance, improvements are being made across campus at UNK. One of the places improvements can be seen is in the new partially reopened Calvin T. Ryan Library.

Students are now able to see many updated spaces in the library.

“The library has had some dramatic changes and many improvements,” said Evan Boyd, dean of the library. “We’re looking forward to the end of the project and hope that students can enjoy the new space throughout the remaining construction.”

While the library was closed for construction, many professor offices and classrooms had to be relocated. The Department of Communication held classes in West Center and University Residence South. Professors of the Department of Communication also moved their offices to URS. 

Construction in the library began in December of 2022 and is expected to be completed by July. Professors will be able to move their offices back into the library before the start of the fall 2024 semester. Half of the library’s renovations have been completed, including new lighting, new floors on the first floor, updated ceiling ventilation systems, and new paint and refinished doors throughout the entire space. 

New additions include a prayer and meditation room, an ablution station (area used to cleanse before prayer), a mothers’ room, two pod classrooms and six study rooms with video monitors and whiteboards on the walls. It is now an open area where hallways and offices once were. 

The library renovations are just one of the many campus construction projects in progress.

“There are so many exciting improvements happening at UNK,” said Greg Christen, UNK project manager. “The library is a big one.”

The hallway connecting the Fine Arts and Performing Arts buildings went under construction in September of 2023. The north doors are not open yet due to work being done to the exterior sidewalks leading up to the building. Christen said he is not sure when the project will be completed, as workers are trying to solve drainage issues.

Students are excited to be able to use the hallway.

“I’m so happy that the hallway is completed,” said Katie Wieseler, a UNK sophomore. “I had some pretty cold walks outside and the construction noise made it a bit challenging to practice my violin. I’m glad it’s finished.”

Construction was recently completed on the Bess Furman Armstrong Hall. The construction began in the summer of 2021 and was finished in November of 2023. Students moved in the first week of January this year. Armstrong Hall offers dedicated space for chapters to meet and updated housing for members. It also has a designated lounge space for multicultural organizations, which is new for UNK. 

Warner Hall has been under construction since January of 2023. It has many administrative offices and some academic departments. The building’s infrastructure is being updated including a new HVAC system and mechanical rooms. The goal of this project is to make the building operate in a more efficient manner. Christen is not sure when the work will be completed but is planning to move some things back into the building over spring break.

Christen said that the new Rural Health Complex is set to open in early 2026. He said that he is excited to see it take shape. 

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Sydney Tisthammer
Sydney Tisthammer, Reporter
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