NORFOLK, Neb. - The Thursday, Sept. 10 groundbreaking event at Northeast Community College will not be your typical groundbreaking. Instead of bare ground and a two-dimensional floor plan, those attending will see buildings rising up out of the former farmland.
The shovels of dirt turned at the 10 a.m. ceremony near the Chuck M. Pohlman Ag Complex in Norfolk will not be the first soil moved in the construction area. Dirt work on the site began the first week of April and construction is well under way on the veterinary technology building and the combination farm operations building and large animal handling facility located at the new Acklie Family College Farm north of the existing facility.
“We had hoped to have this ceremony in the spring, just before construction work started,” said Dr. Leah Barrett, Northeast president. “Unfortunately, COVID-19 made that impossible. The pandemic interfered with our plans to celebrate the five-years of hard work it took to bring this plan from the discussion stage to construction, but on Thursday the 10th, we will celebrate this accomplishment and the efforts of donors, volunteers, faculty and staff.”
Barrett will be one of the speakers at the groundbreaking, which will be held outdoors, weather permitting. Others sharing their excitement about the Nexus project will include Northeast Board of Governors member Jeff Scherer of Beemer; Dr. Tracy Kruse, associate vice president for development and external affairs and executive director of the Northeast Foundation; Nexus campaign co-chairs Jeanne Reigle of Madison and Russ Vering of Scribner, and vet tech student Dara Ness of Kennebec, S.D.
Two special announcements are planned during the groundbreaking ceremonies. Those attending are urged to practice social distancing, and face masks will be required. Refreshments will be served.
For those unable to attend, a virtual groundbreaking, with a link to livestreaming as well as video comments from donors, volunteers, staff and students is located on the site agwaternexus.com. The livestreaming will also be available at https://team1sports.com/northeastcc/.
“Even those able to join us at the live event will want to check out the virtual site,” Kruse said. “It has comments that will not be heard at the groundbreaking ceremony, and the video of the ag faculty breaking ground is worth a visit to the site.”
Implement dealers, area producers and tractor enthusiasts have been invited to display both old and new tractors and equipment at the groundbreaking. Displays will include 2020 model tractors and combines and some antique tractors and equipment. Tractors may be brought to the site on Wednesday, Sept. 9 from 2-5 p.m., or between 8-9 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 10.
“What better way to demonstrate how agriculture has progressed over the years than to show antique tractors next to modern equipment?” asked Corinne Morris, dean of agriculture, math and science at Northeast. “Our students will be moving from a 100-year-old building into these new, state of the art facilities at this time next year. A lot has changed in agriculture since the old dairy barn was built in the 1920s, and since Northeast acquired it about 40 years ago.”
Two fundraisers are kicking off in conjunction with the groundbreaking. One encourages donors to text “ag” to (402) 383-FARM (3276) to contribute. The other involves the sale of animal silhouettes to be engraved and displayed on a farm-scape plaque in one of the new buildings. Three sizes of horses, chickens, pigs and cattle are available for donations of $50, $100 and $250. These animals may be ordered from students or online at agwaternexus.com.
“Generous donors and far-sighted planning by the College have allowed us to move ahead with this project,” Kruse said, “but we need more contributions for technology and equipment. We hope everyone touched by agriculture will consider a donation to support the future of agriculture and agriculture education in northeast Nebraska.”
Donations to the Nexus project may be made online at agwaternexus.com, by texting “ag” to (402) 383-FARM (3276), or by sending a check to Northeast Community College Foundation, 801 East Benjamin Ave., Norfolk, NE 68701.
Construction work is underway on new agriculture facilities at Northeast Community College including the veterinary technology building (pictured in the foreground) and the combination farm operations building and large animal handling facility near the College’s Chuck M. Pohlman Agriculture Complex, 2301 E. Benjamin Ave. in Norfolk. A groundbreaking ceremony to commemorate the work will be held Thursday, Sept. 10, at 10 a.m. The ceremony may also be viewed at agwaternexus.com.