As Creighton University celebrates 140 years of shaping minds and preparing men and women to lead lives of meaning and purpose, University and Omaha community leadership paused the afternoon of May 10 to bless an apt metaphor for Creighton’s work: a new pedestrian bridge spanning the North Freeway between campus and The Atlas, a new residential and retail development housed in the former Creighton University Medical Center.
“This pedestrian bridge marks an important development for our campus because it symbolizes our connection to our past, our present, and our future,” said Creighton President the Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, PhD, in welcoming an assembly including the University Board of Trustees, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert, and the developer of The Atlas, Todd Heistand of NuStyle Development. “This physical connection between The Atlas and our campus community, spanning the North Freeway with beauty and grace, holds great promise. Our neighbors will feel more welcome with the easy gateway to our campus, and our academic and community connection will grow and strengthen.”
Construction on the 700-foot span, rising 50 feet over the highway, began in December and is wrapping up this month. On the Creighton side, the bridge’s pier bears a vertical sign bearing the University’s name in large, backlit letters.
On The Atlas side, the bridge will connect to the first of the more than 700 planned living units going online June 1. A certificate of occupancy for the bridge is expected at the end of the month and a formal ribbon-cutting will be held this summer.
Mike McCarthy, chair of the Creighton Board of Trustees, said the project was a visionary step for Creighton and Omaha.
“It really is extraordinary we were able to do this,” he said. “Having Creighton now connected to the wider community — and we always want to be more connected — is a great opportunity on both sides of this bridge. It’s a wonderful example of what’s possible.”
Offering a prayer for the bridge’s successful completion, Fr. Hendrickson said: “Grant that we may continue to come together in partnership for the betterment of all, and especially for those who live and work in this area. Bless all those who cross this bridge, as they seek to learn and to grow. Lead us in our efforts to strengthen our community, as we seek to guarantee that families and people of all ages and incomes are nurtured and protected, and citizens of all faith traditions are respected and appreciated.”