Neihardt Hall will be empty during the 2019-20 school year, with uncertain plans for the building’s future.
The home of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Honors Program will move to Knoll Residential Center in August 2019. The Honors Program administration said they understand some students’ sadness about the program leaving Neihardt, and Assistant Director for the Honors Program Tamy Burnett said the change is bittersweet for her, too.
However, Burnett and Honors Program Director Patrice McMahon said they believe the change will benefit students. According to McMahon, fewer students want to live in Neihardt every year, and Burnett said Knoll is better equipped to support the Honors Program.
UNL will add classrooms and offices to Knoll to help the Honors Program adjust to the space. McMahon said she hopes the Honors Program will move into Knoll by the first week of August 2019.
“I think everyone recognizes that Neihardt is a very special building and it has a lot of charm, but it is not a building that is able to support honors in a way that we need our building to function,” Burnett said.
McMahon said she doesn’t know details about the future of Neihardt. She said she has spoken to Chancellor Ronnie Green about potentially renovating the building, but the Honors Program is not affiliated with the building’s future.
“He was talking about the renovations, hoping to think about a way of using this building in a way that is appropriate … keeping with its historical heritage and not trying to change it too much because it is a beautiful building,” McMahon said. “But I’m just not sure when that’s going to happen. I don’t know if he has other plans.”
The Honors Program Student Advisory Board, the Honors Peer Mentor program and the Honors Ambassadors will work with the Honors Program’s administration to come up with new traditions, according to McMahon. The students will also work to carry on old Neihardt traditions, like the pancake feed at the beginning and end of the school year.
Burnett said Neihardt’s atmosphere was important, but said she hopes the building’s atmosphere will transfer to Knoll — especially because many students have expressed interest in living in the hall.
“Part of the reason that Neihardt has had the great sense of community and atmosphere is that it is a community of people with similar interests and motivations …,” she said. “We’ve had just exceptional enthusiasm and interest so it’s going to be quite full. Because of that, I think it will set us up for a really strong sense of community.”