The Lutheran Center on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus will tear down its building and work on renovations this summer.
Jenna Olson Popp, the center’s campaign coordinator, said that the decision took into account “decades of horrible wear and tear” including leaking ceilings, poor air systems and a termite infestation.
“We really just want to start from scratch,” she said. “It’s very mid-century modern and doesn’t fit well into Greek row. We want to make it look like a church, and use natural materials so it’s more sustainable.”
Popp said they plan to reclaim the building’s current foundation and materials to build a new center on the same plot of land.
The center has been outsourcing to St. Mark’s on the Campus Episcopal Church as a temporary worship place. Popp said the center will operate there for one academic year before the new building opens in the Fall 2020.
The new building’s Lutheran learning community, where 10 students will live in the apartment style rooms on the second floor, will be a major addition for the center, according to Popp.
The community will focus on faith, location and service, and share a communal living space with individual bedrooms. A large living space will also be available for a house mother or resident assistant to watch over and help students.
“It will be the first time we have anything like this,” Popp said. “Anyone, freshman to senior, will be able to join the community. They don’t even have to be Lutheran or Christian. As long as they have a passion for for those three things [faith, location and service].”
She said they plan to expand and redo their chapel, lounge and offices on the first floor. The center currently only holds three offices, and the renovation will expand it to six.
Shaina Lusienski, a junior international business major, said that she is very excited for the Lutheran Center to rebuild. She said the staff has invested years of work into the proposal, and it’s exciting to see it finally happen.
“The Lutheran Center has been such a large part in my college life,” she said. “It’s a place where I can always ask questions and grow in my faith, and is my home, literally — I live in the apartment there — as well as figuratively.”
Although Lusienski won’t experience the new center as a student, she’s looking forward to coming back after she graduates to see students enjoying it.
“I’m glad I get to be part of the transitioning year,” she said. “I look forward to what this ministry can accomplish and grow to be in the coming years.”
The Lutheran Center, according to Popp, will be transitioning during the year that marks a century of ministry on UNL’s campus.
“That’s kind of how we are celebrating it,” she said. “We are just going to start fresh with a new building for the next 100 years in the heart of campus.”