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iHub Initiative will place Northeast at the Front Lines of Downtown Norfolk Momentum

iHub Initiative will place Northeast at the Front Lines of Downtown Norfolk Momentum

NORFOLK, Neb. – To many in the region, the proposed Northeast Community College iHub represents a dream for the manufacturing and agriculture industries.

While some have speculated that the collapse of a few walls during part of the renovation process about three weeks ago would result in that dream being crushed, such is not the case.

College officials stated that all plans are scheduled as originally proposed at the site west across the street from the Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce. 

Scott Gray, vice president of Administrative Services and general counsel, said the general contractor has designed a plan to stabilize the remaining walls from the collapse that happened on May 9. Crews are working to shore up the walls and then the debris will be removed, he said.

The timetable for new construction has yet to be determined.

The overall project is expected to be about $7.5 million, with any additional costs because of the collapse yet to be determined. The college is still planning to raise about $2 million in private funds as part of that total to complete the project.

Tracy Kruse, vice president of Development & External Affairs, said Northeast will be sharing more details about the fundraising effort, including naming and sponsorship opportunities, in the coming weeks.

“We are excited to work with our local partners,” Kruse said. “Inside this facility, there will be space for local industry partners to display their logo and hang banners.” 

Kruse went on to state that businesses will be able support the youth robotics programming or hang their banner in the automation lab where workforce training will occur. There are multiple opportunities to be involved in the project.

Leah Barrett, Northeast president, said all the momentum generated from the April groundbreaking and downtown Norfolk remains. Barrett and other college officials heard from various community members about their disappointment on May 9.

“Northeast and our partners remained committed to the iHub. It was heartwarming for me and others to hear about their concerns. This project will be everything we envisioned when it was announced,” Barrett said. “We appreciate all those who have offered their support and asked about it.”

In part, the iHub will partner with current and future employers, assisting them in the transition for tomorrow’s fabrication and workforce training. The iHub will include space for community collaboration on projects, youth education and exploration.

iHub Update
This artist’s rendering of a portion of the proposed iHub looking out onto Norfolk Avenue shows the inviting atmosphere that will be created for industry and community partners. (Courtesy drawing)