Redevelopment starts on new facility to serve children, adults with disabilities

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With $90 million in private gifts, new facility will be first of its kind in nation

Children and adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities will benefit from a new facility and all new programs at the Munroe-Meyer Institute in Omaha.

Generous philanthropic support of $90 million is making it possible for the University of Nebraska Medical Center to begin redeveloping a former 220,078 square-foot office building in central Omaha into a state-of-the-art service and health care center.

The facility, located at 6902 Pine St., is adjacent to the University of Nebraska at Omaha Scott Campus and will be more than two times larger than the institute’s current facility located near South 44th and Farnam streets.

Patients, families, university representatives and others came together on Aug. 26, 2019, to celebrate the start of redevelopment. Completion of the new facility is scheduled for fall 2020, and the building will open and begin providing patient services later that year.

As Munroe-Meyer Institute begins its second century of providing services for patients with developmental and intellectual disabilities, its new home will be the first of its kind in the nation, MMI Director Karoly Mirnics, M.D., Ph.D., said.  It will be uniquely designed to facilitate integrated care for the individuals and families with these disabilities and complex health care needs that MMI serves across the lifespan, he explained.

“This new facility will not only allow us to provide state-of-the-art care, but it will enable us to recruit and retain top clinicians, educators and researchers to Nebraska,” Mirnics said. “Building on 100 years of service, our vision is for a center that will provide an intimate, convenient care center for our patients while providing us with the talent and facilities to have a global impact in the areas of education and research into intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

Architects consulted with clients and clinicians to create a plan for the building that enhances and simplifies the patient experience, as well as offering an array of services not available elsewhere in the state.

Existing programs will be expanded and enhanced, while new programs and collaborations will be offered. Among the new amenities:

  • a redesigned and integrated Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders (iCASD), under the leadership of a newly recruited, nationally recognized expert in autism, where MMI professionals will provide interdisciplinary care, pulling together the various services to enhance the patient experience;
  • a one-bedroom, fully appointed apartment, where occupational therapists can help individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities learn and practice hands-on life skills;
  • the Caring For Champions Program, a collaboration with Special Olympics that will provide sustained vision, dental and weight management services; and
  • a new aquatic center and playground for clients and youth will enhance the experience for youngsters who attend Camp Munroe.

Several benefactors gave to the University of Nebraska Foundation to enable the university to acquire and redevelop the building in response to the exponential growth in the population that needs services.

“Once again, generous individuals and organizations have demonstrated what can be accomplished in Nebraska through giving,” said Brian Hastings, president and CEO of the University of Nebraska Foundation. “It’s because they recognize the need for this vital project that the university is able to move forward. So many people throughout Nebraska and the region will benefit from the expanded facilities, programs and specialized care that will be available at the institute.”

The University of Nebraska Foundation continues to seek contributions to support the programmatic costs associated with the institute.

Lead benefactors to the project include:

  • William and Ruth Scott Family Foundation
  • Weitz Family Foundation
  • Suzanne & Walter Scott Foundation
  • Hattie B. Munroe Foundation

Principal benefactors to the project include:

  • Clarkson Regional Health Services
  • Holland Foundation
  • Robert B. Daugherty Foundation
  • The Lozier Foundation

UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., called the new building a doorway into the institute’s second century.

“Since its beginnings, Munroe-Meyer Institute has worked to improve the lives of the people and families it serves,” Gold said. “This new home gives it a much larger space and increased versatility and flexibility, but the core of the MMI mission — helping those with intellectual and developmental disabilities to overcome challenges, to live fuller, richer lives — remains the same.

“All of UNMC is excited to see how our colleagues at MMI will continue to grow in their new home to provide even more effective clinical care, education and research, all in the name of enhancing the lives of the people and families they serve.”

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