Bill for Lakeside buy dies; NKU pays out

Northerner file photo.

Efforts to restore hundreds of millions of dollars worth of spending projects for Kentucky universities and other causes died March 27 as lawmakers wrapped up their 2007 regular session, but this didn’t stop Northern Kentucky University from moving forward with the purchase of Lakeside Heights Nursing Center.

NKU closed on the $8.5 million future dorm building and property March 30 by pulling money from its reserve fund, according to University Housing Director Matt Brown.

Brown said the university was hoping lawmakers would pass the $370 million worth of spending and use it to purchase and renovate the building. The bill also included proposals to improve student housing, classrooms and research facilities on campuses throughout Kentucky.

“We’re disappointed that the bill was not passed, but it’s not going to prohibit us from going forward,” Brown said.

The building is anticipated to open for the spring 2008 semester after approximately $7.5 million worth of renovation, which is half of the cost of building an identical facility, Brown said.

Gov. Ernie Fletcher had slashed the money from the budget last year amid concerns of rising state debt. But from the start of this year’s session, Fletcher supported reinstating the projects, noting the state’s fiscal condition had improved.

Editor’s Note: Bruce Schreiner from the Associated Press contributed to this story.