Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center

The University of Nebraska hired Hawkins Construction in 2011 to build the new Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center on their Omaha campus. This 90,000 SF building serves as place where students, faculty, non-profit groups, and community members can meet and collaborate.

The main and 2nd level is constructed of conventional structural steel and concrete composite metal decks. This building was designed to be flexible for both the university and the community and contains offices, work rooms, common spaces, and large conference rooms.

The lowest level of the building consists of parking, mechanical and storage space and is constructed of cast-in-place foundation walls, precast walls, precast columns, inverted T's and double T's. The facility is supported on auger cast piles.

While working within the limited parking areas at the University, Hawkins understood that the key to keeping the project on schedule was to phase the parking lot construction so parking was always available. Hawkins constructed the new parking lot by the library before the building itself, which minimized the loss of spaces during the project.

This project was completed on schedule, and through value engineering efforts Hawkins returned a cost savings of 1.4% back to UNO.

“The dream for this building is to create the space for the community to become all it can be. For people to come together to work for the greater good of all of Omaha’s citizens. If the dream of this building can come true so can the dream of a community that cares for its citizens.”  - Barbara Weitz, Weitz Family Foundation


The organizations chosen for space in the Center are:

A Time to Heal
Inclusive Communities
Metro Area Continuum of Care for the Homeless (MACCH)
Nebraska Shakespeare Festival
Nebraska Watershed Network
Office of Latino/Latin American Studies (OLLAS)
Omaha by Design
The Omaha Community Foundation (OCF)
Queer Nebraska Youth Networks
Sigma Phi Epsilon
Support and Training for the Evaluation of Programs (STEPs)
Sustainability Organizations
Volunteer Program Assessment – University of Nebraska at Omaha
Wellness Council of the Midlands (WELCOM)
SPHRS (Spirituality, Public Health and Religious Studies)
The Social Media Lab for Research and Engagement
Nebraskans for Civic Reform (NCR)
The Omaha Public Library

Project Details

University of Nebraska – Omaha (UNO)
Omaha, NE
$ 15,400,000
Higher Education

“Hawkins Construction Company has brought ideas to the District for both cost savings as well as scheduling to keep projects both on time and on budget. To help do this they make time early in the project for both collaborative value engineering as well as learning the intricacies of our projects to avoid potential schedule problems. This understanding of the project helps them with the management of subcontractors and makes for a more organized construction process.”

Michael A. Koenig, P.E.
Director, Major Water Plant Projects - Metropolitan Utilities District