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Sustainability Learning Lab at Bellevue University

Welcome to the Bellevue University Sustainability Lab

In 2019, the The Nebraska Environmental Trust awarded BU a $200,000 grant to build a sustainability learning lab. Located behind the R. Joe Dennis Learning Center, the 7000 square foot lab will include a greenhouse, an algae pond, a native Nebraska plants garden, and solar generation stations. It will provide students with the opportunity to do hands on research and the community a space to enjoy.  The university will also work with with the Boy Scouts and Green Bellevue as the lab develops.

This LibGuide is a work in progress, as is the Sustainability Lab. Check back often.

Development of the Bellevue University Sustainability Lab Overview

October 4, 2019

”Today we break ground on what we hope will be a truly groundbreaking project, This facility will complement indoor labs at the R. Joe Dennis Learning Center next door.” (Remarks of Dean Mary Dobransky)


Proposed Layout of Sustainability Learning Lab - Design by HDR



7000 plants native to the region, ready to be planted.

Source: Bellevue Leader, Oct. 9, ,2019.

Partially Planted Garden - October 2019

Construction begins third week of May 2020

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Science Lab window on right.                                                                           Looking toward Galvin Road

Excavation continues, last week of May

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The hole grows as the mounds of displaced earth pile up.                             Towering piles of dirt stop just in front of native plants garden

First week of June.


Now you see it, now you don't! The hole has been filled back in and 
down to provide a solid and level surface

Science on Display at the Bellevue University Sustainability Learning Lab


Margie McCandless, originally published in 
Bellevue University Library Facts from the Stacks Blog

BU receives NET grant for sustainability lab

Bellevue Leader, July 15, 2019, Cheyenne Alexis (Staff Writer)


      The outside of the R. Joe Dennis Learning Center will house the new sustainability lab coming to Bellevue University in the next two years.

Bellevue University is constructing a lab that will assist in sustainability learning, while also involving the community.

The Nebraska Environmental Trust awarded BU a $200,000 grant to increase sustainability learning with a lab at the university. The grant will be available to BU over the next three years.

Located behind the R. Joe Dennis Learning Labs on Bruin Boulevard, the 7,000-square foot lab will have many ways for students to research and study.

(Click on title to read complete story)


Nebraska Environmental Trust Awards $200,000 Grant to Independent Colleges Foundation to Support Development of Sustainability Learning Lab at Bellevue University

Omaha, Nebraska – The Council of Independent Nebraska Colleges Foundation (CINCF) announced today that it has received a $200,000 grant from The Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET) to help establish a sustainability learning lab at Bellevue University. The grant funding from NET will be matched by Bellevue University and its partners and donors over the next three years.

According to Dr. Dennis Joslin, Executive Director of CINCF, “The Sustainability Learning Lab has tremendous potential to benefit the State of Nebraska by raising awareness and educating future generations of students and citizens about how to conserve, enhance and restore natural environments.” Dr. Joslin added that the grant and lab project aligns well with CINCF’s mission to provide support for students attending Nebraska’s private colleges and universities.

Bellevue University President Dr. Mary Hawkins said the grant serves as a prime example of a partnership resulting in a unique educational resource. “We are grateful for The Nebraska Environmental Trust’s support of this project and for the CINC Foundation’s advocacy on behalf of the state’s independent higher educational institutions,” she said. “We are confident that real world, applied learning that will take place in the lab will help preserve Nebraska’s valuable natural resources and strengthen the state’s workforce.”

(Click title to read the complete story.

.Bellevue University to Create Outdoor Sustainability Lab

Fox 42 News, by Sydnie Holzfaster, Sunday, August 11,  2019

— Students at Bellevue University will soon be researching a new way to expand renewable resources. The Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET) has awarded the university a $300,000 grant to create a sustainability outdoor learning lab.

Sunday Dr. John Kyndt, Associate Professor of Microbiology and Director of Sustainability at Bellevue University, broke down the plan for the construction of the new lab at the monthly Green Bellevue meeting.

Kyndt said the lab allow students to take their experiments out of the classroom and integrate different types of renewable energy.

“Fossil fuels are a finite resource, so we are going to run out of fossil fuels at some point. We’ve got to start building more renewable resources,” Kyndt said. “It’s not going to be one resource that comes out. It’s not going to be algae biofuels that takes over everything, it’s going to be a combination of things.”

The sustainable lab will be constructed in three phases, with each phase taking approximately 12 months to complete. Phase 1 will include the construction of a 1,600 square foot greenhouse with hydroponics and the creation of a native plant garden. Phase 2 includes the installation of solar and wind generation stations, a 1,200 square foot algae pond and web linked weather monitoring system. Phase 3 will include the construction of a 25-seat outdoor amphitheater classroom.

(Click on title to read complete story)