žžƵ

UNK-UNMC

Douglas A.
Kristensen
Rural Health
Education
Complex

Client
University of Nebraska Medical Center & University of Nebraska Kearney
Location
Kearney, NE
Size
114,000 SF
Completion date
January 2025

A new rural health campus that extends the successful partnership between UNK and UNMC and is set to become a cornerstone in training the next generation of healthcare professionals.

In the heart of Nebraska, a revolutionary project is taking shape. The Douglas A. Kristensen Rural Health Education Complex, designed by žžƵ, is set to become a cornerstone in training the next generation of healthcare professionals. As the state grapples with a healthcare workforce shortage, particularly in rural areas, this 110,000 SF facility on the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK) aims to bring health science education to rural communities rather than dispersing candidates out to urban education environments. 

The building is strategically positioned north of the existing Health Science Education Complex on UNK’s campus, forming an educational hub that melds state-of-the-art classrooms, advanced simulation labs and clinical skills laboratories. Here, students engage in pre-clinical education and simulate complex clinical scenarios, preparing them to fill a critical healthcare need within Nebraska’s rural communities. This new campus also extends the successful partnership between UNK and the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC), which began with the opening of the $19 million Health Science Education Complex in 2015. Now brimming with over 300 students, that facility has set a precedent in healthcare education in rural areas.

Upon its completion in 2026, the $95 million facility will train more than 300 students annually and significantly contribute to the local economy, supporting roughly 240 rural jobs and generating an estimated annual economic impact of $34.5 million. Possibly the first of its kind globally, it’s a project that transcends its physical boundaries, influencing the state’s economic landscape and serving as a promise of better healthcare for the rural communities of Nebraska.