Summer rain hurts campus development

Over the course of two months this summer, a month of those days were spent watching rain fall from the sky..

While the gloomy weather may have put a damper on everyone’s summer tan, it also caused a setback in Northern Kentucky University’s campus construction and landscaping.


According to Larry Blake, NKU’s assistant vice president of facilities management, exterior construction on the campus recreation building, as well as the entrance road, has been delayed three to four weeks.

“On the inside, we’re delivering what we promised, aside from new pool and the multipurpose court, [by the first day of the semester],” Blake said.

Blake explained that they made the last minute decision to add the NKU logo on the floor of the new pool, meaning they could not dismantle the old pool until the new one was finished. The old pool is where the multipurpose court is being installed.

“Those choices had nothing to do with the weather, though,” Blake said.

The climbing wall’s construction has also been delayed, as it will be installed after the multipurpose court’s construction.

“We had one event this summer where the roof over the new gym floor broke. We had to tear up the new floor and replace it,” Blake said.

While the floor was replaced at the contractor’s expense, it still cost the university about two weeks in construction delays.

Steve Nienaber, director of university design and construction management, said the excessive rain, alongside the extreme heat and humidity, played a role in delaying many outside projects.

Contrary to civilian perspective, a sunny day does not mean a successful work day. Nienaber went on to explain how concrete cannot be poured in excessive heat, as it will not set right.

Neinaber said campus crews are tackling the most visible and crucial tasks first, as they attempt to compensate for lost time. He said the campus will be safe by the start of school.


According to Blake, excessive rain is the reason NKU’s landscaping is not up to its normal standard.

“Usually, at the start of school, campus is pristine. We are not pristine this year,” Blake said.
“You’ll see weeds in places you normally wouldn’t and some things are not planted as well as they normally would be.”

Blake said these setbacks are not to blame on any specific person. Jobs could not be completed due to working conditions.

The inability to work cost campus facilities approximately $12,000 in plants.

“We literally could not get them in the ground,” Blake said.

Blake added that he believes they had missed “the good planting season” a while ago.

While the weather caused a few large scale delays, Blake said many small projects were also delayed week by week, leading to a pile of unfinished jobs.

“It does not look awful, but it certainly does not look how we would like it to look,” Blake said.

Blake, as well as Neinaber, said they are attacking the most visible landscaping projects first in preparation for the fall semester.