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The Northerner

Jeff Dunham, Dinosaurs, monster trucks, Oh my!

Jennifer Corbett

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It’s the beginning of a new era.

That’s how President James Votruba described the Bank of Kentucky Center at its opening Sept. 22.

Legislators, students, faculty and staff met in the Center to celebrate what Votruba called “a dream achieved.”

According to a press release, in 2005, the Kentucky legislature authorized the construction of the center. In May 2006 Northern Kentucky University broke ground for the Center.

Now, almost two and a half years later, Carrie Underwood will host the first event Sept. 24.

Les Crooks, the Center’s general manager, said it is getting ready for many other grand entertainment events.

“We are competing for live entertainment with ample parking and great customer service. I think we have a nice mix of hall for live basketball as well as live concerts,” he said.

NKU is set to hold acts such as Jeff Dunham, So You Think You Can Dance, Alan Jackson, Monster Trucks, The Wiggles, Walking with Dinosaurs , Arenacross, Cirque Du Soleil, Lipizzaner Stallions, Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bros: Over the Top and a NKU vs. University of Louisville basketball game.

“(The) people of Greater Cincinnati will have many more concerts and sporting events to enjoy,” Crooks added. “We are excited to host many, many such events in the coming days and months.”

Karen Zerhusen Kruer, executive director of the Northern Kentucky Foundation in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area said the Center competes for live entertainment in the area.

But Votruba said the center is expected to hold more events as time passes.

He said the 10,000-seat Center is expected to hold about 120 events in 2008, then gradually move to 150 events.

However, Votruba said the Center is not just about holding events.

“The facility is more about athletics and events … It’s a major step,” he said.

Other local legislators agreed with Votruba.

“The Bank of Kentucky Center shows the power of teamwork,” said representative Dennis Keene. “It’s a beautiful facility … Certainly more gorgeous than any of us could imagine.”

Keene’s family used to own part of NKU’s campus. His childhood home sat at what is now second base at the baseball field.

Senator Katie Stine said it’s important to remember how “Governor Fletcher got the ball rolling on the center.”

Vice President of Student Affairs Zeb Davenport said the Center will bring NKU notoriety.

“This is a great time at NKU,” Davenport said. “It’s a special place and great time to be here.”

Davenport added that he plans to buy tickets to the monster truck show for his son.

Even with big names scheduled to appear on campus, Votruba said nothing is as important as graduation.

During spring 2008 graduation, Votruba turned to his colleagues and said “Wow, this is NKU.”

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Jeff Dunham, Dinosaurs, monster trucks, Oh my!