Positively the Heartland: UNL students help build Omaha Mobile Stage; set to launch this summer

Posted at 7:20 AM, Mar 01, 2022

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Piece by piece, an 18-foot box truck is being converted into a state-of-the-art stage on wheels.

“There’s a lot of scenarios that we planned for, how the stage is going to be used… dance performances, theater performances, that sort of thing. But I’m most interested to see how people use it in ways that we didn’t anticipate," said Ethan Boerner, architecture major at UNL.

The Omaha Mobile Stage is a collaborative effort between community organizations, local businesses, and UNL architecture students Boerner.

“It’s something I’ve never done before so it’s been really eye-opening how the whole process works,” said Boerner.

Students get hands-on experience with planning, building, meeting strict deadlines, and working as a team.

The project is about half-finished. It will have doors that fold open and a stage that comes out, fully mobile and able to host events across Omaha.

“It’s kind of serving as a model for other communities to do the same thing without having to spend a whole lot of money, having to get a physical building built. It’s something that can work for all of Omaha rather than one single community," said Boerner.

“It’s great to see the creativity that these students have,” said Jerry Reif, assistant director at Nebraska Innovation Studio.

Reif has helped guide students throughout the whole process.

“The confidence that we’ve seen that’s built in their abilities to do things… we saw it from the beginning towards the end of the project where there was a complete change in the way they approach ideas and building and that was pretty amazing to watch that happen," Reif said.

Going beyond textbooks and software to make a positive impact.

“I know it’s gonna be successful because the project is just so amazing, it’s one of a kind, and it’s going to grow because it’s a great idea and it’s going to work in other communities. So just being the first one to do this has been a pretty incredible experience," said Reif.

The first events scheduled for the Omaha Mobile Stage are planned for this summer at Gifford Park, Riverfront Park, and Joslyn Castle.

They’re also going to work with organizations like Culxr House.

Read more about the project here.

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