The College of Education and Human Sciences at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will soon have a brand new $46.5 million building.
Mabel Lee Hall, which sits on the east side of N. 14th Street between W and Vine streets, will be demolished in spring 2020. An entirely new building will be erected in its place, complete with nine new classrooms, meeting rooms, offices, labs and a 400-seat auditorium, according to project manager Joe Goodwater.
Goodwater said classes have already been moved out of Mabel Lee, and demolition is set to take place in February or March of 2020. The completion date of the new building will be determined by the contractor on the bid date, but Mabel Lee’s replacement will open sometime after January 2022, he said.
Goodwater also said noise from the demolition and heavy traffic around 14th and W streets may affect staff and students in Teachers College Hall.
Mabel Lee Hall originally opened in 1968 as a space for women’s physical education and currently contains a variety of spaces, including classrooms, offices, computer labs, locker rooms, two gyms, a dance studio and a pool.
According to Goodwater, renovating the multipurpose space into only offices and classrooms would be less cost-effective than the planned complete demolition.
Ben Heinisch, operations and project specialist for the Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education, said he thinks the new building will help the College of Education and Human Services recruit students.
“When prospective students see what the university and the college is committing to the student education and higher education in this college for teaching,,” he said, “I think that’s really going to be a feather in our cap as far as the impact it’s going to make on prospective students and their families.”
Heinisch also said he wants to thank the other departments that have had to relocate because of the project.
“We recognize that it’s a big effort to continually be disrupted and moved,” he said. “So, we really appreciate the efforts and the consideration of other departments.”
Heinisch said he is excited for students to have a modern and accessible place to learn and study.
“We enjoy our spaces that we have now,” he said. “But we’re really motivated to get into spaces and utilize spaces that are really going to encourage new thinking [and] new learning opportunities.”