Olsson Contributes to Nebraska College of Engineering Campaign


September 17, 2019

OIsson, a nationally recognized engineering and design firm founded in Nebraska, was recognized this week for supporting a major campaign to transform the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Engineering.

Executives from Olsson were among several donor-guests at a standing-room-only press conference and reception to launch the $85 million campaign to build a new engineering facility on the Lincoln campus. The project represents a critical element of a larger strategy to grow student enrollment to help meet increasing demand for engineering professionals in the workforce.

“The College of Engineering (COE) has such a prominent place in the history – and the future – of Olsson,” said Chief Executive Officer Brad Strittmatter in an announcement to the firm’s employees. “The COE drew John E. Olsson to Nebraska in the 1940s and provided him with the education that led him to found our firm in 1956. Since then, countless numbers of interns and graduates from the UNL engineering program have come through our doors.”

Olsson currently employs more than 200 graduates from the university, of which 115 received degrees from the COE.

“And I would imagine that this number will only continue to grow,” he added.

The new building will serve as the college’s academic hub and will house Lincoln-based construction management programs, according to a university press release. The college also offers engineering instruction on the campus of the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Peter Kiewit Sons’ Inc., a construction and engineering firm that traces its beginnings to Nebraska, has provided a $20 million lead gift to the project. Other major donors thanked at the event were Jim Abel, chairman and CEO of NEBCO; Hausmann Construction; the Union Pacific Foundation; Dan and Angie Muhleisen; Rick and Carol McNeel; and Don Voelte and Nancy Keegan.

UNL Chancellor Ronnie Green said creating facilities that help attract talented faculty and students is the top priority for the university. Cutting-edge facilities will also help the university land more research funding while addressing a projected demand for 15,000 new engineering and computer science professionals by 2026.

COE Dean Lance Perez said he expects the new facilities to help engineering enrollment grow by nearly 50 percent to 5,000 students within the next 10 years.

This week’s announcement focused on the second phase of major upgrades to the COE. Site work will begin soon on the $75 million first phase, which involves renovating of one of the college’s primary buildings, and constructing a 91,000 square-foot addition to the engineering complex. That project, launched in 2018, is scheduled to be completed in 2022.

The second phase will involve a new building near the primary engineering complex at 17th and Vine Streets in Lincoln. It is tentatively scheduled for completion in 2023. Fundraising for the new building is ongoing.

Olsson is a nationally recognized consulting firm where experts craft solutions that improve communities. The firm offers services in planning and design, engineering, field services, environmental, and technology. For more information, go to www.olsson.com.

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