University of Nebraska-Lincoln one step closer to buying portions of 17th street

These are the tentative plans for 17th street between X and Vine streets.
These are the tentative plans for 17th street between X and Vine streets.(KOLNKGIN)
Published: Dec. 18, 2019 at 10:30 PM CST
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Today, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln cleared the newest hurdle in buying a portion of 17th street from X to Vine streets. The Lincoln-Lancaster Planning Commission unanimously approved the next phase of the plan. The next step for this project is to be approved by the Lincoln City Council.

This isn't the first time the University has purchased land from the city. In 2018, the University bought 17th Street from R to Vine.

"The reason driving the university is that the plan is to place a state-of-the art college of engineering facility north of

Vine street," said John Jensen, the Real Estate Manager at the University.

Three college of engineering buildings stand next to 17th street. The $85 million project is something Jensen said will take Nebraska to the next level.

"There's several local and global challenges that are only going to be solved by scientific and technological development and that's what's driving our need for the new college of engineering facility," said Jensen.

The current plans include: a new "state-of-the-art" engineering facility, open space and a student plaza.

"As an engineering student, i already spend most of my day over here," said Lukas Stelze, a sophomore. "It would be nice to get a little more green space."

Jensen said the proposal could add value to the city as well.

"There's a lot of shared interest between the city and the university in terms of bringing jobs to the Lincoln community, in terms of new research opportunities," said Jensen.

Jensen estimates a finish date of August of 2023. Stelzle and other students tell 10/11 they are excited about the prospect of new development.

"It's a really cool idea that they're investing in their students not just in housing, but also in communal spaces," said Stelzle.