How NKU plans to use its $53.8M for asset preservation

Mark Payne
Mark Payne
Mark Payne is the government and politics reporter for LINK nky. Email him at [email protected]

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The Kentucky legislature awarded Northern Kentucky University with $46.7 million for asset preservation during the legislative session.

As part of those funds, the university agreed to a 15% match equaling an additional $7 million in matching funds, totaling $53.8 million.

The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education presented its plan for university asset preservation to the Capital Planning Advisory Board on Wednesday, detailing how universities across the state are spending that money to improve their campuses.

“It’s been over 10 years since we’ve received any asset preservation money from the state,” said Carmen Hickerson, assistant vice president of Economic Engagement and Government Relations. “So it’s been desperately needed.”

Hickerson added that the university does spend money out of its own budget, but the buildings on NKU’s campus are state-owned. She said that maintaining them in a safe and efficient way to maximize their lifespan is critical.

The legislature authorized $683.5 million in general fund-supported bond funds for a pool of money to be given to Kentucky universities for asset preservation.

In January, NKU leaders presented to the House Review Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education for funds coming from House Bill 1, the state’s budget.

President Dr. Ashish Vaidya; Carmen Hickerson, assistant vice president, Economic Engagement and Government Relations; Mary Paula Schuh, senior director, Planning, Design, and Construction; and Syed Zaidi, assistant vice president of Facilities Management all presented to the subcommittee.

They also expressed their need for asset maintenance because specific money was set aside in the House budget to maintain university buildings.

“It’s been many years since we’ve received funds for asset preservation,” Hickerson said at the time, adding that for NKU’s presentation, they talked about the 1970-era buildings that needed critical repairs.

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In the past, NKU has been given “bonding authority” or agency bonds to help provide maintenance to buildings, but this particular budget gives money explicitly to help maintain these state buildings.

The Fine Arts Center at NKU will use more than $13 million to improve its facility, Nunn Hall will get more than $9 million, and Landrum Hall will get nearly $4 million.

The maintenance list includes:

  • Elimination of structural issues due to subsurface shale
  • HVAC, electrical, and plumbing systems replacement
  • Elevator and life safety upgrades
  • Foundation leak repairs.
  • Underground gas and sewer line replacements
  • Concrete and asphalt repairs

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