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NKU Master Plan

Updates & Announcements



Founded in 1968, Northern Kentucky University is a growing metropolitan university of more than 14,000 students served by more than 2,000 faculty and staff on a thriving suburban campus near Cincinnati. Located in the quiet suburb of Highland Heights, Kentucky—just seven miles southeast of Cincinnati—NKU has become a leader in Greater Cincinnati and Kentucky by providing a private school education for a fraction of the cost. 

A relatively young campus, NKU has recently adopted a new three-year strategic framework plan, Success by Design. The University is committed to advancing student success aligned with regional needs, based upon three pillars of student success: access, completion, and career and community engagement.  The Campus Master Plan will be the framework that supports NKU's important mission and aligns NKU’s physical environment with the Success by Design strategic plan. The master plan will identify common goals and provide a shared, evidence-based vision for development to guide physical campus investments. The Master Plan will be a living document which is both bold and visionary while supporting the university’s mission and vision for the future.

As a regional university located in a unique metropolitan area, NKU has great potential. The University has a strong history of master planning and with this master plan, the University seeks to refine its focus for the future.

Visit this website often for progress updates and to participate in the master planning process.

Progress Update

The Master Plan Steering Committee is overseeing a collaborative campus planning process focused on land use/site planning, space utilization and space needs, student life, community integration, transportation/parking, and infrastructure including utility planning. Built on consensus through engagement and collaboration, the Campus Master Plan will articulate the physical goals and aspirations of the University’s mission aligned with the strategic plan.

The campus engagement phase of the Master Plan process began in November 2019. Phase 1 of the planning process included the quantitative and qualitative analysis of data to provide an accurate portrait of the University. The analysis included a campus-wide space needs assessment measuring the type of space required to support current needs as well as future objectives.

Using the analysis developed in Phase 1 as a foundation, the planning team worked with the campus community to develop Guiding Principles as well as a Conceptual Plan. The Guiding Principles state the University’s philosophical goals, help build consensus, and guide decisions related to the development and implementation of the master plan. The Conceptual Plan translates the guiding principles into a shared vision for the spatial development of the University by illustrating the structure, layout, and relationships of planned open space, circulation, environmental systems, buildings, and focal points.

Master Plan – Guiding Principles:
• Support a more engaged university serving the Northern Kentucky region
• Create a place of academic excellence and innovation to support a diversity of learners
• Design a welcoming and desirable NKU experience
• Leverage campus assets to create value

The master plan team is currently utilizing virtual technology to engage with the internal and external campus communities to develop and evaluate design scenarios for specific areas of the campus. The scenarios include renovation of existing facilities, new construction, relocation of departments, treatment of open space and entryways, pedestrian and vehicular circulation systems, parking, campus entry and arrival, signage and infrastructure. Planning includes athletic and recreation facilities and edge of campus land uses.

The preferred design scenarios will be consolidated into a Final Master Plan which includes prioritization and sequencing of future projects. The Master Plan, expected to be completed this fall, will provide a visionary and implementable plan supporting the university’s mission and future goals and aspirations.


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