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The Northerner

Campus updates unfinished as students return

Claire Higgins

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Construction seems to be following Northern Kentucky University students from the interstate all the way onto campus as the fall semester begins, as some major walkways and roads are blocked by fences and signs.

Although the renovations are beneficial to the university’s campus beautification efforts, they are not exactly complete. The congestion of students pushing through detour routes and traffic jams make it clear that NKU has taken on some serious work.

Throughout summer, the university spent approximately $4.5 million on projects across campus, according to assistant vice president of Facilities Management Larry Blake. Blake said “we are not in bad shape” with the renovations, despite the central plaza being incomplete.

The central plaza – the walkway connecting the Student Union, University Center and the Fine Arts Building to Founders Hall – was one of the summer’s biggest projects.

The project plans called for half of the concrete to be removed and to fill the space with grass, bushes and trees.

“Once the grass is in place and the concrete is finished and the trees are there, it’s probably going to be the most dramatic change this campus has seen in years,” Blake said.

According to Blake, the project was set back at the beginning of the summer when rain drenched the campus for three to four weeks. The construction team was also slowed by unexpected buried concrete, bricks and bad soil leftover from the university’s original construction.

Blake asks students to endure the inconvenience of detours and construction workers for three to four more weeks. The final landscaping in the plaza will be complete in October, according to Blake.

Although students only have to endure congestion and detours for a short time, it can get confusing; especially for new students who are not as aware of the buildings as returning students.

For freshman music and theatre major Samantha Anderson, the construction has proved to be “kind of irritating.” Not because she is not aware of the building locations but because of the time-consuming detour routes.

Jeff Hurley, an English and theater major, realizes the work is slowly getting better and it is “a lot easier now” with the major walkways open.
Alternatively, returning students are not having any major problems. They know where the buildings are and know “the secret passages,” like junior history education major Olivia Wuest.

Blake, who wanted to start the year out with a bang, is also disappointed with the delay. “We really wanted to make a big impact when everybody came back, but Mother Nature just didn’t cooperate with that,” he said.

To help with the traffic, Facilities Management has equipped each building with plenty of signage to direct students around campus.

In addition to the central plaza, other major summer renovations included updating 75 classrooms across campus, adding a paved bike path that connects Callahan Hall and the Bank of Kentucky Center, and plaza renovations outside of Lucas Administrative Center. Also, because the doors to Griffin Hall are now open, 500 faculty and staff members were relocated to new offices.

The Applied Science and Technology Center (ST) and the Business, Education and Psychology Center (BEP) are being renamed because of the relocations.
The ST building will become the Business Academic Center and house the Haile/US Bank College of Business. BEP will become the Math, Education and Psychology building.

Students may also have noticed the construction on Johns Hill Road. Facilities Management is connecting Johns Hill to University Drive.

When the construction is complete in December, there will be a new roundabout from Martha Layne Collins Boulevard to a point west of Kenton Drive, where the new road will reconnect with existing Johns Hill, according to Blake.

For more information on campus renovations, visit the Facilities Management homepage at http://facilities.nku.edu, and for a list of detour routes to avoid the I-275 ramp construction and closings, go http://www.nku.edu/display_news.php?ID=4523.

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The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.
Campus updates unfinished as students return