Northern Kentucky University saves $4.3 million on expansion thanks to low interest rates

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS – Construction of a new dormitory and expanded recreation center at Northern Kentucky University are on track to cost $4.3 million less than anticipated thanks to a robust bond sale that attracted a record number of bidders.

President Geoffrey Mearns announced at a board of regents meeting that the university will pay 3.73 percent interest on bonds issued for the project, which is well below the 4.35 percent that experts told the school they could expect to pay.

The difference means the total cost of repaying the bonds will be $4.3 million less over 20 years, Mearns said.

Ken Ramey, VP for Administration and Finance, said the two projects will cost $52 million.

NKU purchased the former Lakeside Terrace senior citizens apartments to convert into a residence hall for 188 students. The complex is undergoing a major overhaul and will feature four-room suites with or without kitchens. The project is on track to open for the fall semester.

The $46 million expansion of the recreation center, built in 1984, will include a new entry, a multi-activity pool, five basketball courts, a multi-purpose court space, two racquetball courts, increased weight-fitness and locker room space, three group fitness rooms and new offices for campus recreation, according to a president’s report.

The recreation center is scheduled to open in fall 2015.

Mearns also told the board of regents on Wednesday that spring enrollment is down slightly compared to January of last year but that minority enrollment has grown, a major goal of the university with its 83 percent white student body:

  • Latino enrollment up more than 10 percent
  • African American enrollment up 4 percent
  • Multi-racial student enrollment up nearly 11 percent

Another bright spot in enrollment, Mearns said, was the 7,200 applications for the 2014-15 freshmen class, which is also up from a year ago.

Mearns said he’s confident that spring enrollment will also increase slightly in the coming weeks.

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