Nebraska Innovation Campus

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The Nebraska Innovation Campus is a public/private research campus being developed by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. It is located in Lincoln, Nebraska on the 249-acre (1.01 km2) site of the old Nebraska State Fair grounds.[1]

Its purpose is "To encourage and incent the greatest amount of private/public research and economic development on this property thus allowing this site to become a preferred location for significant job creation in Lincoln and the State of Nebraska."[2]

The project is managed by the Nebraska Innovation Campus Development Corporation and is overseen by a nine-member board of directors appointed by the University Regents.[3] The first projects will be related to agriculture and natural resources.[4]

The project was made possible by a 2008 state law which moved the Nebraska State Fair to Grand Island and turned the old state fairgrounds over to the university. Several citizens filed a legal challenge to the law, contending that it "created a special benefit" for some of the groups and people involved in the plan.[5] However, in May 2010 the Nebraska Supreme Court rejected those arguments and upheld an earlier dismissal of the lawsuit.[6][7] There was also an attempt to overturn the state law by referendum,[8] but the petition drive failed to get enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.[9]

All of the State Fair buildings are to be demolished except the Arsenal and 4-H buildings, which will be remodeled and transformed into a focal point for the research campus. A group of activists is trying to save the 97-year-old Industrial Arts Building from the wrecking ball, and the Regents gave them until July 2010 to find a way to renovate and keep the building.[10] One Wisconsin company submitted a bid to restore and renovate the building,[11] but the university rejected it in August 2010 as too expensive.[12] Later, the university approved a plan to repurpose the Industrial Arts Building, which included the addition of greenhouse space on the second floor.[13]

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Coordinates: 40°49′58″N 96°41′33″W / 40.83278°N 96.69250°W / 40.83278; -96.69250