Construction Begins to Replace Historic Nebraska High School

By Eric Althoff

BOYS TOWN, Neb.—A groundbreaking ceremony was held in early September for the construction commencement for a new high school facility in Boys Town, a small village located on the western edge of Omaha’s suburbs. The new Boys Town High School, which is meant to replace an older educational building that had stood on that same ground since 1948, will bring under one roof all students from the current high school as well as the nearby Wegner School buildings.

The $30 million, three-story school will offer 110,000 square feet of educational space to replace a facility that was in dire need of modernizing; thus the decision was made to demolish the older school and start fresh. Even with various repairs and renovations over the many decades since its construction, the older high school could not continue to operate up to what is needed for ongoing education. Furthermore, the National Board of Trustees determined that it would actually be more feasible to demolish the older building and begin anew rather than renovate yet again.

According to the Omaha World-Herald, the village of Boys Town was founded in 1917 by Rev. Edward J. Flanagan, who dreamed of a place dedicated to encouraging and educating at-risk young men. Since then, the school in the village—and others like it—have continued Flanagan’s mission to reach the community’s neediest through educational efforts.

The older school building itself was designed by vaunted architect Leo A. Daly. DLR Group is designing the new building, which will be built by general contractor MCL.

“This new education center will help Boys Town continue to provide a safe and inspiring learning experience for our students,” Father Steven Boes, Boys Town’s national executive director, said in a recent statement. “We continue to make improvements on our campus as the needs of our children change, and we remain committed to ensuring that all our youth receive fair and equal educational opportunities.”

Added Rod Kempkes, the chief executive officer at Boys Town: “Many Boys Town youth have come from challenging environments and never had the opportunity to attend a well-resourced school where they can receive a quality education. Our school is an active part of care, treatment and behavioral research that are foundational to Boys Town programs used at schools throughout the country.”

According to information recently released by Boys Town, over 80 percent of students who come to the school show significant improvement in both academic performance and in behavior modification. Furthermore, 97 percent of their students graduate and/or continue educating themselves after leaving Boys Town.

The new school building is expected to be ready in time for the fall 2023 school term, as reported by the Omaha World-Herald.