UNK-UNMC Break Ground on Transformative Healthcare Education Building

September 11, 2023
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Designed in collaboration with RDG, the new UNK-UNMC Rural Health Education Building addresses the critical need for additional healthcare professionals in rural communities.

The University of Nebraska at Kearney and the University of Nebraska Medical Center officially broke ground on a new cutting-edge facility. Designed to grow the state’s healthcare workforce and address the critical needs of patients across the state, the UNK-UNMC Rural Health Education Building will expand opportunities for students to study, train and eventually practice in rural Nebraska. The ceremonial groundbreaking took place on Tuesday, September 5, 2023, and was attended by University of Nebraska leaders, local officials and donors, as well as members of the RDG Planning & Design team. 

“Our goal is to harness UNMC’s world-class skills to transform rural Nebraska through a unique endeavor not seen elsewhere in the United States: educating healthcare workers and professionals in rural areas,” said UNK Chancellor Doug Kristensen. “The Rural Health Education Building will be a game-changer in this respect, serving a crucial role in filling shortages in all medical professions across Nebraska.

Located on the UNK campus directly north of the Health Science Education Complex, RDG’s design for the Rural Health Education Building features state-of-the-art classrooms, extensive simulation and clinical skills laboratories for pre-clinical education and complex clinical scenarios and simulated primary care spaces. The building supports the expansion of existing allied health and nursing programs in Kearney as well as the development of new programs to train physicians, pharmacists and public health professionals. Its adjacent location to the Health Science Education Complex creates a hub for health education in rural Nebraska to serve current and future providers and support collaborative research projects.

“This is not just a building – it’s a catalyst for change in rural healthcare that will have a long-lasting impact and fill critical healthcare gaps for years to come. We are fortunate to be able to partner with UNK and UNMC to support the education and innovation of healthcare standards for central and western Nebraska,” said RDG Architect and Senior Partner, Nate Gieselman, AIA, NCARB.

RDG’s design encompasses three stories and 110,000 SF of education and practice space. Once complete, the $95 million facility will train more than 300 students, support about 240 local jobs, and have an estimated annual economic impact of $34.5 million. Construction is set to be completed in late 2025, with occupancy in early 2026.

Written by Erin Van Zee, Communications Director