Arena would help NKU

NKU received some unexpected, but great, news last Tuesday. Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher included funding for a $42 million special events center to be built on campus.

Although the budget is still pending final approval, the inclusion of the funding in the initial proposal comes as a surprise.

“It’s exciting to think about it,” said NKU Athletic Director Jane Meier. “There have been a lot of people, within the school and within the community, that have been working very hard for this to happen.”

The special events center will provide NKU’s basketball and volleyball teams with new playing facilities, and will serve the Northern Kentucky community in many different ways.

“The community has to continue to push for it,” Meier said. “It’s important for the region as a whole, and it shows growth and progress for the university.”

The proposed plans are for a 6,500-capacity arena that would include a new home for athletic administration offices and athletic training rooms.

The exact location of the new arena is still unknown, although it will be located on campus.

According to Meier, accessibility will have a say in where it is built.

“It (the location) would have to be convenient for the region as well as the school,” she said.

The inclusion of the proposed arena in the budget didn’t happen overnight.

NKU and community officials have been lobbying for this to happen for nearly 10 years.

“It’s been on the radar screen for a while,” Meier said. “Once it became one of the most important issues for the entire community, it really gained support throughout the state.”

The proposed arena would also bring new playing facilities for NKU’s basketball and volleyball teams, something Meier said is important.

“Our gym right now is worse than a lot of high school gyms in our area,” she said.

“This would allow us to have expanded concession areas, restroom areas, and get more people in attendance.”

Another possible result of the construction of a new arena could result in NKU athletics moving up to compete in NCAA Division I play.

“Right now we are doing very well competing in NCAA Division II,” Meier said.

“However, if we did have the special events center, it could eventually lead to us moving up.”

Students can get involved as well. Get in touch with your senators and tell them the importance of getting a new arena to this area.

It’s about time NKU gets a little bit of recognition within the state government, and this could just be the start.

“This will really help NKU’s identity in the region and in the state,” Meier said. “The community has to push for it.”