Section: News

Church bells, handicap button malfunctioning

By Graham Reid

The frequent rings of the Church of the Holy Spirit bells often remind students in the adjacent Olin Library just how little work they’ve accomplished in the fifteen minutes since the last chime. Lately, however, the Church’s bells have been running a little less like clockwork, ringing the chime specific to 15 minutes at half past the hour, the 30 minute chime at 45 minutes and so on.

But the bells aren’t the only piece of Kenyon history with technical issues. In addition to the Church’s incorrect chiming, the front door of Peirce Hall has also been malfunctioning — the automatic function of the front door to Peirce hasn’t been opening.

Despite the fact that the Peirce door hasn’t been working all year, the issue is not due to any major mechanical failure. “So far, we have not had any major problems with the retrofit, or the recent repair,” said Director of Facility Operations Greg Widener. Rather, the problem arises from overuse.

According to Widener, the door opener is “designed to accommodate the people who need to use it, which should be very infrequent users” — when the operator receives too many requests, it enters a failsafe state, and stops sending requests to the motor, as to not overstress the mechanical components.

Widener also acknowledged that battery problems in the transmitter could have caused the recent problems with the door, and said, “Of course it’s cold, that could have been the case.” The system entering such a failsafe state is avoidable if students simply do not push the button to open the door when they do not need to. “It’s a people problem,” Widener said.

Widener is confident the bells, which are serviced annually, will require only a quick readjustment. Since the chimes and the clock are quite prominent on campus, they are important to the maintenance department. “We pride ourselves on trying to keep the time current,” Widener said. “It’s one of those little things about Kenyon that we try to pride ourselves on: to make sure that [when] visitors come here, they hear the bells and see the flag.”


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