Decision expected on future of Cather and Pound Residence Halls

Published: Nov. 15, 2016 at 7:30 PM CST
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The future of two residence halls that have been around for decades on UNL's City Campus will be determined Friday.

The University is proposing that the Board of Regents approve 7.3 million dollars in funds to demolish Pound and Cather Hall. The residence halls are 13-story towers located on N. 17th Street with a two-story dining center in the middle connecting the two.

"As far back as 2007, we started looking at the possibility of raising both buildings as we started looking at plans to replace them with new residence halls," University Spokesman Steve Smith said.

Cather Hall is currently vacant. Pound has several hundred students including freshman and upperclassmen living in single rooms.

"We've been able to utilize Pound for the last few years to make up for a larger than expected number of requests for housing on campus. So it's been a luxury for us to have that building," Smith said.

If the Regents approve the funds, the plan is to have both buildings demolished by 2018, with work starting when school gets out in May of 2017.

According to the proposal, a 2010 study of Cather and Pound Residence Halls conducted by an outside architect/engineering consultant, identified life safety, building code, and exterior façade deficiencies. The study concluded that renovation of the Cather and Pound Residence Halls was not recommended due to the high cost of renovation, compared to replacement with newer facilities.

Following a 2011-2012 study of the Cather Pound Neihardt (CPN) Dining Center by an outside consultant, the University reviewed options for renovating or replacing the building. It was determined it was better to build a new center, because of the high costs of renovation. The proposal states, the replacement for the CPN Dining Center, the 17th Street Dining Complex, is under construction and will be operational during the summer of 2017.

The proposal also states, a November 2014 study conducted by UNL showed that the cost of bringing Pound Hall up to current code and to meet Board requirements for sprinkling would be $22.7 million.

If the funds are approved, demolition of Cather and Pound Residence Halls and the CPN Dining Center is expected to begin in May 2017, with restoration complete by November 2018.

"It's a big part of campus. It's got a lot of history. It's a sign of how the campus is growing, evolving and changing in many ways," Smith said.