A lifelong tie to agriculture was instrumental in Dirk and Jan Petersen’s decision to invest in the Nexus project at Northeast Community College.
The Norfolk natives, who both own and operate agricultural land in Cuming County, are contributing $30,000 to the capital campaign to update the agricultural facilities at Northeast, according to a media release.
“Our college needs to be a torchbearer, leading the drive for agriculture,” Dirk Petersen said. “The Nexus project lays the foundation for now and into the future.”
Petersen has a degree in agricultural engineering from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and said he is the fourth generation of his family to be involved in agriculture in Cuming County, so he understands the importance of the industry to this area.
A past general manager at Nucor Steel in Norfolk, Petersen also has been a member of the Northeast board of governors for nine years.
“We sincerely appreciate Dirk and Jan’s contribution to the Nexus project,” said Tracy Kruse, associate vice president of development and external affairs and executive director of the Northeast Foundation. “Dirk has been supportive of the project in his position on the board of governors and now personally with a financial donation. He really understands the need for improved facilities for our students, and the value that Northeast students provide throughout Nebraska.”
The initial phase of construction of the project includes a new veterinary technology clinic and classrooms, a new farm site with a large animal handling facility and other farm structures for livestock operations, a farm office and storage.
The new facilities will be near the Chuck M. Pohlman Agriculture Complex on East Benjamin Avenue in Norfolk. Site work began in April and construction should be completed by the fall of 2021.
The funding for the new agricultural facilities will come from the college’s commitment of $10 million, as well as external fundraising to fill the gap.
With a total project cost of $22.3 million, the college has raised enough funds to begin construction; however, fundraising for the Nexus campaign will continue, as more is needed for equipment, technology and furnishings.