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Posts from the ‘University of Nebraska’ Category


UNL says downtown apartments OK this time; but maybe not next time

The city and WRK developers plan to tear down these downtown businesses to make way for a parking garage/condos project called Urban 38.

The Lincoln City Council recently approved a new downtown housing project — where apartments made for four will be built on top of a city parking garage.
There was much talk at the council about whether the apartments were too targeted at college students and likely to become party central. The council went ahead and approved the project, but I was intrigued by a belated letter on the matter.
Michelle Waite, representing UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman, wrote a letter saying UNL decided to support the project “after thorough and deliberative discussion on campus despite our concerns about the option of offering additional student housing in close proximity to campus.”
She noted that UNL has invested more than $200 million in the past decade to renovate and build student housing, and said research indicates the longer a student lives on campus, the more likely they’ll succeed as a student.
“On balance, we have decided to support this project although would respectfully respect that the city take into consideration our interest if another private student housing development would arise and carefully deliberate issues that may be indirectly affected by such a development.”
Translation: Next time please consult us first.
She ended the letter with, “The University of Nebraska-Lincoln would likely not be comfortable with additional developments of this nature.”
Hmmmm… in other words, we don’t really like this project, but we’ll go along with it this time. But next time, don’t expect us to be so amenable.
Probably doesn’t hurt that the developers are WRK and Woodbury — 2015 Visioners and UNL’s partners on the Arts & Humanities project in the Haymarket.


NU: Too much oversight?

Curious, that story about how NU would like fewer “mandates.” We’ve all heard about unfunded mandates, but NU appears to have a different take on what they are.

NU told lawmakers they could live without the requirement that the state auditor handle NU audits. They’d rather go back to those private audits that never seem to find any issues.

I’ve never read an audit of a public institution that said much of anything… except State Auditor Mike Foley’s audits. So I can understand why NU would rather go back to the private sector firms.

NU says that would save money, but provided no specifics. Is it really about saving money? Or is it about something else?

But NU didn’t stop there. It also said it would like to get rid of the oversight the Coordinating Commission provides it for bond issues and facilities. The commission said it often find places to save money during their review.

So is this about unfunded mandates, or unwanted oversight?

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