The new building is on Pine Street near the UNO Scott Campus.
The $90 million project is double the size of the former Munroe-Meyer Institute. A lot of work went into building it: 249,827 hours to be exact. That is equivalent to 28.5 years.
“With this new building, MMI is positioned as never before to support the intellectual and developmental disability community as it strives for awareness, acceptance and opportunity,” Dr. Karoly Mirnics, MMI Director said. “This building will fuel a palpable change in the IDD community and in the broader community as we work together toward those goals.”
The new building has rooms for physical therapy and occupational therapy, but also recreational spaces like a pool, splash pad, playground and gym.
Timothy Shriver, Chair of Special Olympics International, said all kids deserve the same opportunities and the new MMI leads us in that direction.
“You don't walk in here because you have a disability,” Shriver said. “You walk in here because you have a child and the child needs love, needs care, needs compassion, needs hope, needs dreams, needs skills, needs medicine like every other child.”
Susan Gass has been bringing her 15-year-old son here for nine years. She said he loves the sense of community and the feeling of just fitting in.
“The facility matches the staff,” Gass said. “They have always been outstanding and now they have a great place to perform their work and I think it gives it such a good opportunity for growth. This is a larger space. We will have more people helping kids in this community.”
The new building is also home to dentists, optometrists, and doctors who all understand children's unique needs.
The building also has sheltered escape coves (little nooks in hallways) to offer a safe haven for clients and families who need a moment to gather themselves.
Funding was provided through the state of Nebraska and private gifts to the University of Nebraska Foundation.
One thing that has not changed: MMI’s passionate commitment to its mission and the families it serves.
“Although it's wonderful, the building is, in the end only a building.” Dr. Mirnics said.“What is most important is what the building will allow us to provide – the best