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Board Finalizes Health Center Construction

By Madeleine Thompson

Last weekends meeting of the Board of Trustees covered a variety of topics, including Middle Path renovations, the construction of the new Kenyon Health and Counseling Center, progress reports on various studies and a presentation from the Kenyon Farm.

The Board approved a timeline for several construction projects, including the new Health Center, which will be located behind the Post Office. The architect will continue to work with folks on campus to develop construction documents and then the project will go out to bid to construction folks, Dean of Students Hank Toutain said. Itll take the better part of a year to complete, so that our hope is to be in to the new Health and Counseling Center in the fall of 2014.

The Mayer Art Center, known as the Art Barn, which is currently under renovation to become a common area and the new home for the Craft Center, will be finished by the end of this semester and will reopen in January. The Board also approved the continuation of the ongoing Middle Path project. The design firm is still working on putting together the schematic design piece of the [Middle Path] project, Chief Business Officer Mark Kohlman said. Theres three path sections that we [worked on], and Id like to have a little respond via email kind of thing so students can post comments on what they think. The Board will need to approve a design for Middle Path by next April.

According to Toutain and Kohlman, the fate of Bexley Hall remains undecided, but the building will most likely become office space. Preliminary assessment concluded it could not be used for housing because such a conversion would not be cost-effective. The renovation would be so extensive that the per-bed cost of turning [Bexley] into housing would be vastly more than the per-bed cost of some other housing that you built right from scratch, Toutain said.

In a dinner on Thursday night with the Board, Student Council presented several issues of their own. They outlined the next steps of the smoking policy revision, including plans to raise student awareness about the policy and to conduct a survey to gather information. Well be asking students for a week or so to respond to where a smoking spot [should] be located, Student Council President Faith McDuffie 13 said. The need for Student Council representation on the Presidential Search Committee was also addressed. Some people stated that they were disappointed that there wasnt direct involvement from someone in Student Council, per se, McDuffie said. The way [the Board] talked about it, its not an interest group, but they are looking for someone from Kenyon. McDuffie also discussed her plans to update the Campus Government Constitution, which she described as having antiquated information and needing a refresher.

The Board also addressed preliminary budget issues with the Budget Committee, the Executive Committee and senior staff. Its a two-hour meeting where we talk about the challenges that were going to face in the budget, and that was very good, President S. Georgia Nugent said. Were still grappling with the question of financial aid and how to fill that shortfall. The trustees had some ideas on that and theyve kicked it up to us, the administration. The compensation consultant who was scheduled to come discuss the issue of faculty and staff salaries was unable to attend the meeting due to Hurricane Sandy.

Looking forward to next year, the Board also changed the format of their February meeting, which usually occurs in New York City and focuses on budget approvals. This year, the meeting will be at Kenyon and will feature experts on Kenyon-related topics in the hopes of tackling issues from new perspectives. The agenda, although it probably will include [the budget], will be a Board of Trustees retreat, Toutain said.

Theyre bringing in some people to talk about some big issues in higher education in general, so trying to take a 30,000-foot approach to issues that are confronting the College.

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