Otto Olsen replacement project bringing changes to Fine Arts Building at UNK

Otto Olsen replacement project bringing changes to Fine Arts Building at UNK

KEARNEY, Neb. – Work is underway at the University of Nebraska at Kearney’s Fine Arts Building, which will see some changes as part of the Otto C. Olsen replacement project.

Construction fence is going up along the south side of the building’s west wing, where two classrooms will be added in the space currently serving as a courtyard. The classroom addition is phase 1 of the work planned for Fine Arts.

UNK Communications reports that Phase 2 includes an addition and renovation on the building’s northwest corner. This area will house the glassblowing lab presently located in Otto Olsen, as well as woodworking and metalworking studios.

The drawing and painting studios currently occupying this space will shift to the new classrooms on the building’s south side.

The work, which adds about 5,500 square feet to the Fine Arts Building, is part of the ongoing replacement of Otto Olsen, a 63-year-old building that has been on the state’s capital construction replacement list for more than 20 years.

Lincoln-based Hausmann Construction is the general contractor for the project, which also includes construction of the new STEM building between West Center and Ockinga/Welch Hall. The total price tag for the Otto Olsen replacement project is $30 million. That money, approved by the Nebraska Legislature in 2016, comes from renewal bonds and deferred maintenance funding directed to facility replacement projects.


Most of the programs currently located in Otto Olsen will move to the STEM building that’s expected to open in fall 2019.

The UNK Child Development Center that’s part of Otto Olsen will be replaced by the LaVonne Kopecky Plambeck Early Childhood Education Center, a $7.8 million, 19,900-square-foot facility that’s expected to be complete next summer at University Village just south of U.S. Highway 30.