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New ag facilities on horizon for Northeast Community College

New ag facilities on horizon for Northeast Community College

Northeast Community College releases five-year comprehensive strategic plans, including expanding programs and construction of multiple facilities.

Agriculture programs at Northeast Community College began in 1973, but in recent years those programs have been on the fast track. Ag enrollment at the Norfolk-based college has grown rapidly in the past five years, prompting college administrators to look at broad and far-reaching expansion plans in academic and research programming.

Northeast Community College president, Dr. Michael Chipps stands in front of the current Chuck M. Pohlman Agriculture Complex with associate vice-president of development and external affairs, Dr. Tracy Kruse. A $40 million expansion of agriculture facilities and programming is being planned by the college that will include a new precision agriculture program opening this fall and new laboratories and classroom facilities for veterinary technology, agriculture, animal handling, precision agriculture and technology. The plans also call for an agriculture and water demonstration center and expansion of the current Pohlman complex.

The college recently released its new five-year comprehensive strategic plan, "Vision 2020," detailing bold plans for initiation of an Agriculture and Water Center for Excellence; Applied Research Hubs and a new Technology Applied Research Park. The $40 million plan not only calls for expanding programs, but also construction of multiple facilities, with much of the new ag-related facilities built around the current 45,000 square-foot Chuck M. Pohlman Agriculture Complex on the far east side of the college's nearly 800-acre main Norfolk campus.

Here's a closer look at the proposed expansion:

New ag facilities on horizon for Northeast Community College

A sign marks the way to one of the current agriculture classroom buildings on the main 800-plus-acre Norfolk campus of Northeast Community College. The expansion plans will move most of the agriculture programming and research east of the main campus to the area surrounding the current Pohlman complex.

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New ag facilities on horizon for Northeast Community College

The current Agriculture and Allied Health building on the main campus at Northeast Community College.

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New ag facilities on horizon for Northeast Community College

An artist’s rendering of potential expansion plans at Northeast. On the right side of the drawing is the current Pohlman complex, which would be expanded through the construction process into a full-size arena so the facility can host larger events. New facilities will be built around this main building to the west, with surrounding fields being utilized as part of the research component of the project. (Courtesy of Northeast Community College).

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New ag facilities on horizon for Northeast Community College

In this site plan of the expansion project, current and planned facilities are projected over the current fields and facilities on the campus. Note a stormwater management project along the west side of the facilities. Also of note are new veterinary technology facilities, which are a priority within the plans, according to Kruse and Chipps. In a recent interview, Kruse noted that the project will most likely be accomplished in phases, with high priority areas like veterinary technology taking place earlier in the sequence. Also note an Innovation and Demonstration Center just west of the Pohlman complex, as well as new agriculture classrooms, a large animal building, precision agriculture facility and greenhouse. (Courtesy of Northeast Community College).

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New ag facilities on horizon for Northeast Community College

This is an artist’s rendering of agriculture classrooms, laboratories and a lecture large lecture hall, including laboratories for soil science, water and horticulture labs, classrooms and computer labs. (Courtesy of Northeast Community College).

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New ag facilities on horizon for Northeast Community College

Here is an artist’s drawing of the new entrance and expansion of the current arena. The facility will offer increased space for larger events and animal handling areas and it will be connected to a lecture hall and classrooms. As a main feature of the entrance, a large iconic silo serves as an entrance to the new Innovation and Demonstration Center, said Kruse. While plans are fluid and continue to evolve, Kruse explained the inclusion of the silo and demonstration center as ways to offer agriculture education to the general public and to explain the role of agriculture in the state and for the nation. (Courtesy of Northeast Community College).

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New ag facilities on horizon for Northeast Community College

Here is an artist’s drawing of what the new veterinary technology facilities might look like. These would include classrooms, a surgical clinic and suites, laboratories and an animal ward, said Kruse.

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New ag facilities on horizon for Northeast Community College

As a showcase portion of the proposed project, the Innovation and Demonstration Center, as portrayed in this drawing, would offer interactive displays featuring the state’s natural resources as well as Nebraska’s rich history and leadership in agriculture. Chipps said that Northeast is preparing farmers for agriculture in the 21st century, requiring more food to be produced for the growing population using fewer resources than ever before. This is the challenge for future agriculture producers. “This is the main mission behind this project,” Chipps said. For more details on the Northeast expansion project, read a related article in the print May issue of Nebraska Farmer. For more information, you can contact Northeast Community College director of public relations, Jim Curry at 402-844-7063. 

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