By Phoebe Roe
Months of debate over the fate of Bailey House have thus far yielded no answers as to who will move in. Since November, the College has set several deadlines for a decision, but the unwillingness of administrators to relocate has lengthened the process.
A proposal last October suggested that the Office of the President move to Bailey House from the Eaton Center and that Bailey House be renovated to accommodate the new occupants. Plans changed in November when someone proposed that the President live in Bailey House, and the current presidential residence, Cromwell Cottage, be turned into office space for the Provost and the President. According to Chief Business Officer Mark Kohlman, the plan has changed again. [Bailey is] not going to be a house, Kohlman said. Its going to be an administrative building, probably with the provost. The question is where the president is going to go.
The next president may return to Ransom Hall, the admissions building, President S. Georgia Nugent said. But that will take coordinating with admissions, which currently shares the building with the Provost. Dissent from those who would be uprooted is partly to blame for the delay. The board of trustees, which is responsible for approving plans for new buildings and giving feedback on various projects, will ultimately approve the final decision. Kohlman expected a decision to be made at the boards most recent retreat, from Feb. 7-9, but it ended without a resolution.
With the search for the new president in progress, making a decision is more important now than ever. We need to make a decision because we want the [Presidential] Search Committee to say whats going on in terms of what [Bailey] is going to be, Kohlman said. Additionally, presidents have in the past had the opportunity to personalize their offices, which is why a designer was hired in October to reconfigure its interior. Every president has some flexibility to evaluate what they want, Kohlman said.
The board will be meeting in February in hopes of finalizing plans for Bailey. Kohlman is hopeful that this meeting will be successful, saying its just the process of evaluating the spaces and determining where [everything] should be.
However, Kenyon is under a time crunch; the new president moves in in July, so the renovation will have to be completed by then. Better to do it right the first time, Kohlman said. Theres just some moving parts with where the president will be. Were close; were just not finalized yet.
Whatever happens, the costs will be covered by a discretionary fund.
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