Robert Ripley, AIA
Bryce Hastings, AIA
All too often when significant accomplishments are achieved we have no idea of how much quiet dedication and leadership was required in the effort. A number of years ago Bryce Hastings, AIA, instead of quietly retiring, took on the challenge of serving as the President of the Nebraska Architectural Foundation. He has done an exceptional job of reviving and accomplishing the Foundation’s mission and goals. His quiet dedication and leadership began with the identification of critical topics and assuring that each activity was accomplished.
One of the most monumentally significant has been his leadership and partnership with Bob Ripley, AIA, the Director of the Office of the Capitol Commission, in securing content, resources and the filming of the NET production of Nebraska’s Capitol Masterpiece, which unfolds the complex history and cultural value of the Capitol for all Nebraskans. (The documentary is now available for streaming online.)
Bob Ripley in his own quiet manner has dedicated his career to the conservation and preservation of this masterpiece in every detail on a daily basis. This invaluable story could not have been developed without Bob’s exceptional knowledge and would not have been told if it had not been for the vision, dedication and persistent quiet leadership of both individuals. Although all of us are always very busy with our professional and personal lives we all owe our deepest appreciation to their quiet dedication and leadership.
Rendering of proposed courtyard update. Image courtesy of the Nebraska Capitol Commission
Nebraska lawmakers voted to override Gov. Dave Heineman’s vetoes of state budget items, including funding for four bronze courtyard fountains and a new heating system at the Nebraska State Capitol.
The 37-11 vote came days after the Governor announced that he had trimmed $65 million from the Legislature’s updated budget package. Heineman singled out the $2.5 million fountain project as a less important priority than state-funded property tax relief.
Many private fundraising efforts for the fountains have occurred over the years and have been unsuccessful. Senator John Nelson of Omaha, who introduced LB 797, said the state is now able to finish the project and if lawmakers hadn’t acted, it could have been postponed indefinitely.
The fountains would mark the completion of architect Bertram Goodhue’s original design. They were originally expected to sit in each of the building’s four open-air courtyards, but the work was halted because of the Great Depression. With the new funding, construction is expected to be completed just before Nebraska celebrates its 150th anniversary as a state in 2017.
Henry Doorly Zoo Conservation Academy sketch, image courtesy of DLR Group.
DLR Group in association with CLR Design was recently selected to work with the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo to program, plan and design a facility that they will call the Conservation Academy.
This project will integrate indoor and outdoor facilities that will provide educational opportunities that will support their Pre-school – Kindergarten education programs as well as their high school education program. The Pre-K to 8 year old outdoor education facilities will also be available to zoo visitors.
This project will support the Zoo’s Education Mission. Engaging children with nature has been the subject of many recent books and studies that have identified a “nature deficit” in that children appear to be losing touch with the natural world around them. The Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo intends to make a difference in this area and be a leader among North American zoological institutions.