As a part of our new initiative called Curious Cornhuskers, Matt Waite, a College of Journalism and Mass Communications professor, asked The Daily Nebraskan, “What are the plans for the Cather/Pound hole in the ground?”
In August, The Daily Nebraskan reported delays in the site’s conversion to a pedestrian walk area. Now, work to convert the site is underway. Chad Lea, the lead project manager for Capital Projects at UNL, said it is expected to be finished by the end of the fall 2018 semester.
The Cather-Pound Residence Hall demolition took place last December, and since then, the site located on North 17th Street has remained empty. The Lincoln City Council voted to sell North 17th Street to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in March, but seven months later, the sale has still not been finalized.
“I walk past that site twice a week now,” Waite said. “Going by there, you tend to wonder, ‘What’s up?’”
UNL Facilities Planning and Construction approved a notice to proceed for Sampson Construction on Oct. 11, allowing the company to begin construction to convert the site.
Lea said the long logistics process to pass ownership from the city of Lincoln to UNL caused part of the delay.
Grant Watson, construction manager of Capital Projects, said construction can begin now that they’ve switched ownership of the site to UNL.
“Basically, it’s just ownership of 17th Street,” Watson said. “Now that we have all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed, we can start that work.”
Currently, Capital Projects is only proceeding with construction of the pedestrian walkways on North 17th Street between R and Vine streets.
Lea said the walkways should allow pedestrians easier access to the new Cather Dining Hall and University Health Center. Watson said further projects on the site will be left to the discretion of the UNL Board of Regents.
“We’re just anxious to get these pedestrian walks in place so that the students and faculty and staff that are using the new dining complex have better ways to get there,” Lea said.
Now that construction on the site is underway, Waite said he looks forward to a more enjoyable walk on North 17th Street.
“It’ll make it a nicer walk every twice a week, so I’ll take that,” Waite said. “There’s nothing wrong with having a nice walk on campus.”
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