As the start of the school year approaches, Lutheran High Northeast continues to build its new agricultural education and science facilities.
Lutheran High Northeast held a ceremony July 6 to celebrate the completion of the steel structures for its Growing the Future, Rooted in Him Capital Campaign project. People who attended the ceremony were able to sign the last steel beam before it was placed in the new science lab structure.
According to Daniel Sievert, principal of Lutheran High Northeast, work on the project picked up over the summer. Construction workers have completed the brickwork on the front of the facility and the roofs are mostly complete. The team is now working on pouring the concrete for the structures.
“We’re really going to start seeing some completion,” Sievert said.
According to Sievert, the project is expected to be completed by December. Upper Northeastern Lutheran students should be able to use the new ag and science facilities for the spring semester beginning in January.
Additions to the vocational school have been years in the making, as many Nebraska schools have added agriculture facilities over the years to accommodate the state’s largest industry. Space also began to run out in Northeastern’s existing Lutheran High Science classroom as enrollment increased.
“Our existing science lab is one of the smallest classrooms in the building. And it’s getting tougher with the growth we’re experiencing in enrollment,” Sievert said.
The capital campaign for Lutheran High Northeast began last October, but construction costs have increased over the year due to inflation and supply and demand issues.
However, the school was able to avoid the price increase by updating some of the building designs, Sievert said.
“We’ve been really blessed to keep (the price) where it was originally,” Sievert said.
One major design change occurred with the science facility, which was reduced by removing the second floor, according to Sievert.
Other aspects, such as the number of windows, have been changed.
According to Sievert, Lutheran High Northeast also agreed to a maximum guaranteed price with the construction company months ago.
“So we’re locked in and it’s all set,” Sievert said. “And we’ve been for months, so there’s no price increase that’s going to happen with the rest of the project.”
Lutheran High Northeast raised $3.75 million for the project in just under a year. However, the school hopes to raise another $250,000 to complete the campaign.
According to Fred Aufdembrink, director of development at Lutheran High Northeast, the facilities will still be completed even if the final goal of $4 million is not reached by the end of the year.
“We are looking for another $250,000 so that everything is fully paid for at this point.” That would be the end of the campaign,” Aufdembrink said.
Lutheran High Northeast also plans to raise more money for its project during the Beef Blast event on Sunday, Aug. 28, according to Aufdembrink. A tour of the facilities may also be given during the fundraiser.
“It’s been a very good campaign so far because we’ve had a lot of support from our donors as well as the community to make this happen,” Aufdembrink said.
According to Sievert, construction on the building will continue through the fall semester, which begins Wednesday, Aug. 10. Student instruction and parking at the school will not be disrupted.
“Agriculture and science are important to people,” Sievert said. “And to see our students get that preparedness for whatever they want to pursue — that’s important because that leaves a legacy for these kids when they go out into the world of work.”