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Nelson Mandela Early Childhood Development Center

Project Summary

Project Type
Child Development

Nelson Mandela Early Childhood Development Center

When Nelson Mandela Elementary in North Omaha looked to expand its programming to include an Early Childhood Development Center, they enlisted Darland to serve as the construction manager. Darland worked with the owner and architects to ensure the building would meet the client's budget and needs. 

The new school features six classrooms, designed to serve students between ages two and five. A 1,360-square-foot gymnasium, featuring more than nine-foot tall windows overlooks the elementary school and athletic fields and the main entry features a vestibule system for added security. "It's a remarkable building," said Nelson Mandela ECDC Director, Nicole Looper.

The site presented some significant challenges for the construction team. "Water runoff from much of the neighborhood had been channeled to collect there," said Darland Project Manager Mike Thomsen. Darland was instrumental in helping create a plan that would create retaining walls, reroute water flow and provide adequate drainage. "We needed to make the site functional without creating additional problems for the elementary school downhill," Thomsen said.

Shortly before their move-in date, major snow melt and rainfall caused widespread flooding in and around the Omaha Metro area. Project Superintendent, Cliff Bonestroo, worked to maintain the timeline. "Cliff was our superhero towards the end," Looper said "He worked very hard to get us into the building." 

Nelson Mandela ECDC follows the same, unique model as the adjacent K-4 school. Students are enrolled based on proximity to the school and financial need. As an entirely privately funded school, Mandela does not collected tuition from families. "One of the greatest gifts Nelson Mandela offers is family engagement. It's an approach we are committed to." With the addition of the ECDC, Looper said the school can further its mission to create a pathway of excellence for all students.