A new science lab for Bellevue University will have the students and community talking about sustainability.

An official groundbreaking ceremony Friday celebrated the 7,000-square foot lab, located behind the R. Joe Dennis Learning Center.

Part of a $200,000 grant given to the university from the Nebraska Environmental Trust, the lab will be officially completed in 2022.

Mary Dobransky, dean of the College of Science and Technology, spoke at the event to introduce guests and give a rundown of the lab and what it will consist of.

”Today we break ground on what we hope will be a truly groundbreaking project,” Dobransky said at the event. “This new outdoor lab facility will complement indoor labs at the R. Joe Dennis Learning Center next door.”

Before the groundbreaking ceremony, the university received 7,000 plants native to the regional area, which were planted by various volunteers around the community.

Tyler Moore, associate professor of biology at BU, said he’s happy to see the lab finally take form.

“This area was just a big weed patch a month ago and it had been for several years,” he said. “Pretty soon it’s going to all be taken over by plants that used to be here.

“All these plants are here to provide some kind of habitat.”

The lab will have a greenhouse, algae pond for renewable energy, wind and solar generation stations and the native plant garden.

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