As a part of our new initiative called Curious Cornhuskers, reader Austin Van Velson asked The Daily Nebraskan, “Why is Neihardt not going to be used after the current school year?”
Charlie Francis, the interim director of housing administration at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, said the closing of Neihardt Hall will allow UNL to evaluate the building for future use. He said at the end of the year, University Housing will turn Neihardt back over to university administration, who will decide what to do with it.
Neihardt Hall has housed UNL students for many years, however, its days as a residence hall are now numbered.
Francis said Neihardt will not be open as a residence hall for the 2019-20 school year. He said the university will use next year as an opportunity to evaluate options for Neihardt’s future use.
The main building of Neihardt was built in 1932, and the building had extensions built in 1973, which is when it took its current name.
The Honors Program will instead be housed in the Robert E. Knoll Residential Center, a suites-style dorm located near Neihardt. Francis said Knoll was a natural fit as the Honors Program’s new home, and many honors students are already choosing Knoll as a housing option.
He also said the building will allow first- and second-year honors students to live in close proximity, and there is classroom space within the facility.
Francis said leadership in Academic Affairs, Academic Services, Enrollment Management and Student Affairs crafted the plan for Neihardt and brought it to Executive Vice Chancellor Donde Plowman and Chancellor Ronnie Green for approval.
Students found out about the move earlier this semester. Francis said it was important to University Housing and the Honors Program to make students aware as soon as possible to help inform their housing decisions for the upcoming year.
There seems to be no clear plan about what the long-term solution for Honors Program housing will be. Francis said University Housing and the Honors Program are partnering to create a long-term solution.
Freshman chemical engineering major Ethan Glenn lives in Neihardt’s Raymond wing. He said earlier in the semester, University Housing and the Honors Program held a meeting to explain the housing situation to students living in Neihardt.
Glenn said Neihardt’s future was up in the air. He said many students asked questions about the process.
Glenn said students asked the presenters about student input in the process, and they said none was sought.
Neihardt is an old building, and Glenn said the age of Neihardt is evident when living there. “There are definitely some parts of Neihardt that are getting up there in age,” Glenn said.
However, Glenn said he enjoys living in the building. He said he appreciates the historic architecture, such as the building’s exterior. Glenn said he’s particularly fond of Neihardt’s sunrooms.
Glenn said while he’s a little sad to see the building go, he understands why it will no longer be used.
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