Olsson Associates


Olsson helps bring a new school, YMCA, and park plan to life

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Linda Van Hoosen, Communications

In Lincoln, Nebraska, school is in session. And for the first time ever, students and teachers are in the classrooms of Marilyn Moore Middle School. It’s Lincoln Public School’s (LPS) newest facility located at 84th Street and Yankee Hill Road. The school is part of a multifaceted project, which includes a new YMCA and Lincoln Parks and Recreation facilities.

Five years ago, the site known as Jensen Park was nearly 100 acres of farm land given as a gift to Lincoln Parks and Recreation. At the time, LPS knew it would soon need a new middle school for the rapid housing and business growth in southeast Lincoln. A combined project with a new middle school and YMCA facility had just opened in north Lincoln. The model was working well and both LPS and the YMCA hoped it could be replicated.

An idea came to Olsson Executive Vice President John Olsson to get LPS, the YMCA, and Lincoln Parks and Recreation together to talk about the future of the site and how the three parties might work together to develop the site. A joint planning charrette was proposed, and the three parties agreed to consider what they wanted and needed on the site.

Doug Halvorson, a landscape architecture technical leader, and Mark Palmer, a site/civil industry expert, both with Olsson, created huge maps of the 84th Street and Yankee Hill Road site. Participants divided into two groups and placed cutouts of things like the facilities, baseball fields, and water features onto the maps to show how they might fit on the site and complement each other. It was a very interactive and energetic planning session.

From those maps, Doug drafted a proposed master plan for the site. All those involved in the charrette received a copy of the proposed plan and, aside from a few minor changes, everyone agreed on the site design. 

From there the parties began the negotiations of how to bring the plan to life. Olsson’s work as facilitator helped pave the way, literally. Olsson was hired to design public roads to serve the site and provide other services including mass grading, utility improvements, and water detention cell design.


“This type of project truly shows what we’re capable of from beginning to end,” said Erin Bright, project manager. “From our leaders bringing the agencies together, to showing our design experience and a variety of services, this is exactly the type of work we enjoy doing.”

The roads in the site are open to drivers, and the Copple Family YMCA, which is connected to the school, opened in May. The next step is building two of the four baseball fields for Lincoln Parks and Recreation. Erin says Olsson will continue working on the site as funding becomes available for each project.

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