Construction of new agriculture facilities at Northeast Community College in Norfolk is currently on schedule, despite some COVID-19-related delays.
That’s the word from Brandon McLean, executive director of physical plant at Northeast. He reported this week that the biggest problem posed by COVID-19 has been material shortages and delays. Overall, McLean said the project is still on target for completion for the fall 2021 semester.
“It’s been nice to see the area take shape,” McLean said. “The work has changed the look of the area dramatically.”
The project includes a new veterinary technology clinic and classroom building west of the existing Chuck M. Pohlman Ag Complex, 2301 E. Benjamin Ave., as well as a combined farm operations building and large animal handling facility, commodity storage, small livestock shelter and a feedlot and lagoon located north of the ag complex.
Altogether, construction has impacted nearly 65 acres, McLean said.
“All of the exterior site grading has been completed except for a retention pond that will be completed in the spring. A significant portion of the concrete paving has been placed including parking lots and interior roads.”
Concrete paving includes a large parking lot west of the Pohlman Ag Complex, in front of the new vet tech building.
“We’ve expanded parking by 380 concrete stalls and six accessible parking stalls,” McLean said. “This would bring the total concrete parking stalls between new construction and the existing Ag Complex parking to 480 stalls and 10 accessible stalls.”
This additional parking will be used by staff and students, and also by those who attend events such as the Northeast Nebraska Farm and Equipment Show, the Norfolk Area Home Builders Home Show, the Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce Beef Expo and the Northeast Community College Livestock Classic Steer and Heifer Show.
Grading has been completed on the feedlot and lagoon, with fencing, bunks and other structures to be installed in the spring. McLean said infrastructure work on sanitary, electrical, water and storm drainage has also been completed, and crews are working hard to finish the exteriors of buildings so they can work inside during cold weather.
“The vet tech building is nearly enclosed,” he said. “Exterior walls have been completed, the roof is three-quarters complete, interior metal stud framing is in progress, and electrical and mechanical rough-ins are in process. The interior slab-on-grade concrete has been completed.”
Cost of the agriculture facilities is $22.3 million, with funding coming from the College’s commitment of $10 million, as well as external fundraising to fill the gap. Northeast has raised enough funds for construction; however, fundraising for the Nexus campaign continues, as more is needed for equipment, technology and furnishings.
In August 2019, the Acklie Charitable Foundation announced a $5 million lead gift to the Nexus project. ACF was founded by the late Duane Acklie and Phyllis Acklie, both Madison County natives and graduates of Norfolk Junior College, a predecessor institution of Northeast Community College.
For more information on the Nexus Campaign, contact Vice President of Development and External Affairs Dr. Tracy Kruse, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (402) 844-7056. Online donations may be made through agwaternexus.com. Checks may also be mailed to Nexus Campaign, Northeast Community College Foundation, P.O. Box 469, Norfolk, NE 68702-0469.
Cameras have been set up to allow real time viewing of construction progress. The cameras can be accessed at northeast.edu/webcams.