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Bank of Kentucky Center / Northern Kentucky Norsemen

Bank of Kentucky Center, home of Northern Kentucky Norsemen.Opened: 2008
Capacity: 9,400 for basketball, 10,500 for concerts
Suites: 12
Budget: $68 million ($54 million from the state, $6 million in naming rights and $8 million from NKU)
Architects: GBBN (Cincinnati) and 360 Architecture (Kansas City)
Construction: Turner
Management: SMG
Phone: 859-442-2652
Parking: Plenty of parking at Welcome Center Garage, across the street from the arena.
Address: The Bank of Kentucky Center, 500 Nunn Dr., Highland Heights, KY 41099

The Bank of Kentucky Arena was built to coincide with the move of Northern Kentucky University sports to Division I status, but it’s been more than that to local residents, proving to be a draw with big-name concerts (Carrie Underwood was the headliner for the opening event) and other high-profile gatherings.

It was an arena two decades in the making. Regents Hall, the old home of NKU hoops, held less than 2,000 spectators. The school had lobbied the state for financial help for some time. But Murray State got state money first. Persistence, however, paid off. Three years ago, the Assembly okayed $54 million for the facility. Bank of Kentucky paid $6 million for naming rights and the school the balance.

Construction started in the summer of 2006 and the place officially opened for business on September 23, 2008. (There was an unofficial opening three months before when NKU held its graduation there.)

SMG was hired to run the place for the school. The facility can seat 10,500 for concerts and 9,400 for basketball. (However, the school says another 1,200 seats can be added at some point.) There are a dozen suites.