University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Nebraska East
Union Addition
and Renovation

University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Lincoln, NE
Completion date
November 2020

Since the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Nebraska East Union first opened in 1977, the needs of UNL's students and its East Campus have changed dramatically. To create a space that could better serve current and future users, UNL engaged with RDG and WTW Architects to revitalize the existing Nebraska Union and create a new social hub for students and a new home for the women's bowling team. 

The renovation was completed in three phases over two years and touches nearly all areas of the existing building, to introduce natural light, bright colors, new finishes and open sightlines and create spaces where students can study, collaborate and socialize.   

The design relocates the dining area to create a full-service marketplace and a new Starbucks and C-Store where students can grab a cup of coffee or a snack on their way to class. The renovated and expanded Great Plains room provides the campus with an event space with the capacity to easily host student groups, conferences and weddings. The Union's bowling facilities, which had been around since the building was first constructed, have been transformed into a top-tier, modern space that serves the UNL Women's Bowling team. In addition to restored hardwood alley lanes, the design also creates a new locker room, pro shop and lounge area, to complete the transformation to a world-class facility and recruiting tool for the University. 

The new communicating stair is centrally located to encourage vertical movement and incorporate components of existing circulation around the current elevator core.
The facility design was centered around strengthening the sense of community for all users and turn it into a more dynamic student destination.
Internally, the design is powered by the appearance of space and light while offsetting the heavy weight of the exposed waffle slab ceiling and concrete structure. Lounge areas within provide social spaces for a wide variety of users to interact, eat, relax and network.
A six-lane state-of-the-art bowling and entertainment facility is located on the first floor of Nebraska East Union and is home to the Nebraska Women's Bowling team.
The importance of stronger connections between interior and exterior spaces amplify interactions between students and faculty. A new south entrance was added to bridge the gap between the interior elements with the new greenspace found on the exterior.
The outdoor patio is another opportunity for the campus community to gather and socialize.
ACUI Award, $25M-$35M Category
Association of College Unions International