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Trustees Okay New Health Center, Middle Path Renovations

By Marika Garland

Kenyon will add another summer program to its list of over 40, after the Board of Trustees approved plans to start an adult-education program at its spring meeting last weekend. The trustees also approved initiatives to build a new Health Center, move forward with Middle Path renovations and begin a study of Kenyons athletics. The discussion represented the culmination of years of preparation from the Student Affairs and Buildings and Ground staffs.

The College is modeling its new summer program, called the Kenyon Institute, after existing Kenyon Review writing classes. If this works out as we hope, in the summer … Kenyon would become a kind of cultural center, President S. Georgia Nugent said.

Vice President for College Relations Sarah Kahrl is heading preparations for the Kenyon Institute, which will focus on week-long writing courses for adults in a variety of fields, starting with playwriting, writing for the arts and science and medical writing. Ohio high school teachers will also have the opportunity to take classes that prepare them to work with the Kenyon Academic Partnership (KAP). Kenyon is investigating the best way to leverage its great historic strengths writing and teaching in summer programming that would bring new audiences and support to the College, Kahrl said in an email.

Kenyon faculty, as well as a few trustees, will teach the courses. The College hopes to open the Kenyon Institute for the summer of 2013 and is still working out tuition costs for attendees. The trustees very enthusiastically unanimously accepted the plan to go forward, Nugent said.
Ten years of studying the Health and Counseling Center also came to a head this weekend.

Its just not up to the standards of the facility thats the best for students, Nugent said.

To address this problem, the trustees approved preliminary plans to build a new Health Center.

We have not yet finalized the site, and so we have not yet finalized the design, but the feel was we really want to get this built, Nugent said. She hopes the design will be ready by the beginning of the next school year so that the trustees can authorize the buildings construction at their October meeting. My guess is it wouldnt take more than a year to build, Nugent said.

The Buildings and Grounds Committee of the Board devoted its time to a presentation from a landscape architect who is working to develop a landscaping master plan for the College that will include renovations to Middle Path. The architects really went into the archives, Nugent said. They have been just really sensitive to the history, symbolism [and] meaning of Middle Path to everybody at Kenyon.

The architects have proposed changes to Middle Path that would include six inches of a stable material under four inches of gravel. Theyre working to really perfect [matching] the gravel to the current gravel on Middle Path, Nugent said. The new surface would maintain the crunchy feel we have of Middle Path, but its stable enough [to be] accessible to wheelchairs.

If all goes according to plan, the College will test these changes this summer on a small portion of Middle Path that forks off to the side of Old Kenyon, according to Nugent. Then, if the new surface is able to weather all four seasons, the rest of Middle Path will likely see these changes the following summer.

The Building and Grounds Committee discussed the Colleges acquisition of a nearby farm on Zion Road as well. The trustees were very supportive of the decision and excited for the students who would eventually live there, Nugent said.

Dean of Students Hank Toutain and Nugent also proposed a study of athletics at Kenyon. The objective here is really to get a clearer sense of the sort of consensus about the role of athletics at Kenyon and a clear direction for how we want to integrate that into the whole educational program, Nugent said.

A committee of trustees, faculty, students, staff members, alumni and parents will conduct the study, which will include interviews of people across the Kenyon community. The College plans to have the committee membership established within the next couple of weeks, and the study may take up to two years to complete, Nugent said. There is a lot of research to carry out.

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