Housing explores expansion options


Lakeside Terrace, located near Callahan Hall, will be empty as of Feb. 1 and is a strong option for additional on-campus housing.

Growth across campus is being exhibited in more ways than just those apparent to the eye. NKU Board of Regents has voiced interest in purchasing Lakeside Terrace for additional housing.

Lakeside Terrace, located next to Callahan Hall on Martha Layne Collins Blvd., would be able to hold 200 beds, which just so happens to fit the university’s need for additional housing, Dean of Students Jeff Waple said. Lakeside Terrace residents will all have moved out by Feb. 1.

MGT of America conducted a market survey on housing expansion in 2010-2011, Waple said. The survey looked at a number of factors including enrollment trends, student demographics, pricing and how to fund a project of that capacity.

The data was taken over a five-year trend. How fast enrollment has increased and how it will grow into the future were both factors.

“Going to Division I will also factor into the housing need,” Waple said. “In the past we’ve recruited locally and regionally, moving forward we will be recruiting nationally and internationally and need to house those out-of-town students.”

The university currently has about 1,850 beds, according to Waple. He said having the additional beds are important as NKU continues to become more residential.

“The last couple of years, housing has been full by May 4,” Waple said.

Unlike some other universities, NKU does not require freshmen to live on campus.

“My vision, that I think others share, would be to have enough capacity to house all freshmen,” Waple said.

Currently the university just doesn’t have the available resources to do that. There has been an overflow of students in the dorms for the past few years.

Students placed in temporary housing at the beginning of the semester have all been placed in permanent housing on campus within five weeks of the start of the semester, according to Arnie Slaughter, director of University Housing. After the melt rate, or students that leave housing throughout the semester, dorms remain occupied at over 90 percent.

“As we anticipate an increase in student enrollment over the next 5-10 years, the demand for on campus housing will certainly increase,” Slaughter said. “Our projected on-campus housing numbers may range between 1,900 to 2,000 within the next two to four years.”

To meet the increasing demands of on-campus housing, NKU is currently negotiating prices with the county and if all works out, plans are to have a residential hall ready by fall 2014, said Larry Blake, assistant vice president for facilities management.

Blake said renovating the current structure, rather than building a new one, would be more cost effective for the university.

“This building was built in the ‘60s, it’s a well built structural building that isn’t wood frame,” Blake said. Similar to Callahan Hall, it would need a facelift before opening to students.

Callahan was purchased by NKU in May of 2007 and opened to students in the fall of 2008. It was a nursing home that had closed two to three years before NKU bought it, according to Blake.

He said Callahan had issues during renovation that Lakeside Terrace won’t have such as gutting the medical rooms, sewer line issues and plumbing.

Blake said the overall facelift to Lakeside Terrace would add to the long-term plans for the university and its growth.

The ultimate decision to purchase the property will be decided by the Board of Regents. Waple said the decision should be made by the March board meeting.