State and local leaders celebrated Statehood Day by unveiling a new interactive education system and announcing new donations for Nebraska’s Centennial Mall.
“We are very excited to announce the use of an innovative technological tool that will enhance the value of Nebraska’s Centennial Mall, especially in the area of education,” said Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler. “This technology will allow thousands of students and visitors each year to access in-depth information on historical sites, notable citizens and the industries of our great state while touring Nebraska’s Centennial Mall.”
“Nebraska Education on Location” is driven by QR (quick response) technology, allowing access to more in-depth information on historic events, sites and notable citizens featured in the area. Students
and other visitors will be able to scan QR codes to view information on featured displays via smart phone or tablet computer. Educators can access the same website for additional information on these
topics in their classrooms.
Plans are also under way to enhance social interactivity and other attractions along the Mall through the installation of Wi-Fi access in key areas. In addition, upgraded broadcast support systems will allow
news media greater access to cover events on the new Mall.
A statewide fundraising team consisting of four former Governors and other volunteers has raised $7.7 million from donors across the state. The goal of $9.6 million includes construction costs and a $1.5
million endowment. Major gifts include $3 million from the City of Lincoln, $800,000 from the State of Nebraska, $550,000 from Windstream, $500,000 from the Lincoln Community Foundation on behalf of the Sheila Dickinson Dinsmore Graf Fund, $500,000 from Union Pacific Railroad and $500,000 from the Lancaster County Visitor Improvement Fund.
Construction has already begun on parts of the project. The State of Nebraska is working on underground plumbing near the Capitol. Road work on the north end is almost complete and landscaping is set for this Spring.
Other major renovations will begin when the final $2 million are raised. The project will also include a $1.5 endowment to provide for ongoing repairs, something that was lacking in the initial construction.
The project is slated to be finished withing the next couple of years. Organizers want to showcase the finished product at Nebraska's 150th birthday in 2017.