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University of Nebraska–Lincoln

UNL Extension in Lancaster County

Your Neighborhood & Community

Helping Nebraskans enhance their lives through research-based education.

Panama, Nebraska Project


Background: In 1988, the village of Panama, Nebraska celebrated its centennial. Residents raised $10,000 to help build a new community center something the community never had.

Twenty years later, Panama still does not have a community center, but now there is renewed interest and assistance.

Panama Connects with UNL Graduate Class to Plan for Community Center"

Last fall, community leaders contacted UNL Extension in Lancaster County who in turn, put the community in touch with N. Brito Mutunayagam. Mutunayagam is a professor of community and regional planning in the School of Architecture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and an extension specialist. Mutunayagam charged one of his classes with finding a way for Panama to get its community center. And they did.(source: LJS Article, C. Pesek. Article)

UNL Extension educators Dennis Kahl (Seward County) and Phyllis Schoenholz (Thayer County) provided assistance as liaisons and mentors to the students. They worked closely with Panama community representatives Bill Bryant and Eric Johnson to organize listening sessions to gather community input.

At a April 10, 2007 Town Hall Meeting, the designs and models created by the UNL Students were revealed. View the designs below created by UNL students. These images may take longer to load on a slower connection.

Newspaper Articles:


Journal Star Article: UNL students present ideas for Panama city community center April 12, 2007

Journal Star Article: Panama proves to be a learning community for UNL students April 7, 2007



Contact Information

University of Nebraska-Lincoln
in Lancaster County
Web site: lancaster.unl.edu
444 Cherrycreek Road, Suite A,
Lincoln, NE 68528
| 402-441-7180

UNL School of Architecture: For more information on the UNL School of Architecture, call 402-472-4065. Web site


Photos from the April 10 Town Hall Meeting in Panama, Nebraska. Click on image for larger view:

Panama Meeting
Panama Meeting
Students at Panama Meeting
Panama Meeting Panama Meeting
Panama Meeting
Panama Meeting
Panama Meeting
Panama Meeting
Panama Meeting

vote nowPowerpoint Resource: Fire Hall Presentation - Funding and Financing (5.87 MB)

The following resources require Adobe Reader. You may have this resource on your computer. Just click on the links below. If not, get the free Adobe .PDF Reader HERE.

Fire Hall Presentation - Funding and Financing. Printable format:


More Resources:

Visioning ResourceWhy Community Visioning