NORFOLK, Neb. -- The Growing Together Scholars Program had a groundbreaking in Norfolk on Monday morning when they dug the first holes for the foundation of the new apartment buildings. 

The complex will be located off of Fifth and Phillip Streets as this program is designed to excel Wayne State College students in the Norfolk community.  

“A great opportunity for our students to receive three years of accelerated learning at Wayne,” said Dr. Marysz Rames, WSC president. “The same time they are coming over here and participating in all kinds of activities, programs and social events. They are living here, working here, finishing out their credits and graduating in four years with I believe a real commitment and excitement about staying in northeast Nebraska.”

After going to school for three years through an accelerated program, WSC students spend their last year of college working for a company in Norfolk. The paid experience helps them become embedded with the community and earn their degree. 

“Norfolk understands us and I give them a lot of credit for their innovation and creativity to create the right kind of environment for the 20 students,” Rames said. 

General Contractor Kelby Herman stated the importance of these new buildings for future generations.  

“I thought it would be a good tie to show the education aspect of this project and how Wayne State is trying to develop people within the city limits of Norfolk,” Herman said.

Herman praised the growth that downtown Norfolk has made in recent years. 

“This building and this location will be great,” Herman said. “The downtown is one of the best downtowns in the state of Nebraska. Being able to have interns and students experience that all together will only help retain our kids in northeast Nebraska.”  

U.S. Congressman Mike Flood also spoke at the ceremony, as he expressed the importance of being able to bring together the Norfolk community with younger generations. 

“We need to appeal to young people,” Flood said. “For that reason, we created at the state level, as a state senator, the creative district program. You see that coming to fruition. Norfolk has now been awarded at least $250,000 matching city funds that will allow us to put more public art, lighten up our allies and provide opportunities for artists.” 

 According to city planning, the Redevelopment Project commenced in the spring of 2023, and will be completed by the summer of 2025.

Mike Flood is the founder and an owner of Flood Communications and News Channel Nebraska.