NKU Covington campus closes

Breanna Gaddie

Northern Kentucky University permanently closed its Covington campus at the end of December, citing the cost of needed repairs and the energy inefficiency of the building.

Between 200 and 300 students are affected by the move.

‘It’s like an old car,’ said Larry Blake, associate vice president for facilities management. ‘It’s been running well, but tomorrow the transmission could go out.’

Blake said the heating and air conditioning units in Hankins Hall are more than 40 years old and are too inefficient to operate.

‘There are a lot of things you can’t even buy parts for anymore,’ Blake said.

In addition to the problems with the building, the driveway leading from Dixie Highway to the building needs to be rebuilt, and the hillside must be stabilized. Handicapped access is marginal, and the building has several code compliance issues.

NKU estimates at least $5.5 million to address the basic needs of the building and up to $13.5 million for complete renovations.

Blake said the most likely option is selling the building, but added there is no hurry.
While the building is vacant, the building manager will shut down as many systems as possible and lower the temperature as much as is safe.

Blake said the change will be a positive one for students, but said it will be different for a while.

He said the biggest challenge may be the move from Covington to Highland Heights, but he said the inconvenience is offset by the U-Pass program that allows NKU students to ride TANK for free with their All Card.

However, there are several benefits for the students affected by the change. The Covington campus did not offer students any amenities. Now, students have access to a library, computer facilities, counseling services, the new student union and food service facilities. Before, the students either had to travel to the Highland Heights, Ky., campus to use these services or find these services on their own.

The classes and offices formerly housed in Hankins Hall at 1401 Dixie Highway, Covington, Ky., will be moved to 10 Clearview Drive, Highland Heights, Ky. and the newly-created Campbell Hall at’ Gateway Community and Technical College (GCTC).
NKU leased a portion of the building from GCTC and renamed it Campbell Hall. It will house the Program for Adult-Centered Education (PACE), the University Training Consortium and Resource Center and the Greater Cincinnati Consortium of Colleges and Universities.

The Educational Talent Search moved to the facility on Clearview Drive.