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The NKU Campus Master Plan process began in Fall 2019 and is guided by the initiatives defined in NKU’s Success by Design strategic plan.

The First Five Initiatives


  • NKU will examine and re-envision NKU's use of institutional aid dollars, non-tuition fees and expenses, to support our enrollment and persistence goals and improve affordability.
  • NKU will strengthen and expand critical PK-14 (high school and transfer) pipelines to NKU with special emphasis on regional schools (River City, CPS, Gateway, Cincinnati State, etc.)


  • NKU will provide coordinated and intentional support for all students through collaborations between key student service areas, enhancing current programming and services, and maximizing the use of EAB Navigate and other technology tools. (Phase 1 – first year freshmen and transfer students)
  • NKU will ensure that the curriculum and degree pathways are aligned with national best practices and regional workforce needs, inclusive of co-curricular and experiential experiences and other High Impact Practices.


  • NKU will catalyze a prosperous, equitable, and inclusive regional ecosystem through economic development and entrepreneurship, with an emphasis on talent development, research and innovation in technology, health and logistics.

The Campus Master Plan will align NKU’s strategic initiatives and mission with its physical environment. NKU selected Ayers Saint Gross, an internationally recognized architectural, planning and design firm, to develop and manage the master planning process. The firm specializes in master plans and building designs for higher education institutions, including Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Ohio State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

The final NKU Campus Master Plan is scheduled for completion in November 2020.



NKU has established standing internal groups to guide the planning process:

  • The Board of Regents is being briefed on the Master Site Plan progress at their quarterly meetings and has the ultimate authority for adoption of the final plan.
  • The Steering Committee is composed of approximately 25 members, including several members of the Coordination Team. The Steering Committee includes representatives from NKU leadership covering every area of operations for the University. The Committee also includes representatives from student government, county and regional planning offices, NKU alum, and the NKU Foundation.
  • The Coordination Team is composed of representatives from NKU leadership and the planning consultant team. Members of this group will work on a regular basis to guide the master planning process. 
  • Over the course of the planning process, focus groups may be formed as individual topics arise that need a finer-grain level of analysis

History of Planning at NKU

The University has a strong history of master planning. The first Master Plan, completed in 1970 by Taylor, Lieberfeld & Heldman, Inc. of New York, recommended construction of a new campus to include 3,000 parking spaces and about 730,000 gross square feet of space for 5,700 students. Based on fall 2019 data, NKU has 15,687 students; 6,699 parking spaces and 3,717,992  gross square feet of space.

Many of the priorities outlined in the most recent master plan, competed in 2009, have been accomplished, including:

  • Construction of two academic buildings, Griffin Hall (College of Informatics) and the new Health Innovation Center, along with the full renovation of the University’s second academic building, Founders Hall.
  • The campus recreation center has been expanded, dining halls have been renovated and new residence halls have been added.
  • A Soccer Stadium has been constructed.
  • A new road has been constructed along the west edge of campus.
  • The Central Plaza has been totally reconstructed.
  • Finally, the University is making progress toward realization of a multi-phase P3/Town Gown project at the main entry to campus.

As a regional university located in a unique metropolitan area, NKU has great potential. How does Success by Design inform our planning?  How do we align planning to meet future objectives?  These are among the key questions the University faces as it begins this important planning process.

More information about the 1970 Master Plan as well as subsequent master planning efforts can be found here