By Gabe Brison-Trezise
With a designated parking spot, a double-sized room on the third floor and coveted washer and dryer hookups, North Campus Apartment (NCA) 304C stands out from its peers. This is the current home of Lisa Train, an assistant director for Housing and Residential Life. The College plans to convert the apartment into a student residence this summer, in line with the original wishes of the Roj family, who financed the NCA, College News Director Mark Ellis said.
While the College has been planning to relocate her for at least two years, Train said she was not privy to the reason for the change. “I have no direct knowledge of what happened,” she noted. “I just know that the decision was made that [304C] would not be an ideal location for a staff apartment.”
According to Train, senior staff members, including Chief Business Officer Mark Kohlman and former Assistant Dean for Housing and Residential Life Alicia Dugas, made the decision to move Train out of her apartment. The building sits across from the Craft Center, set off from the rest of the NCAs. College officials tapped 10A, in the newer NCA loop, to be Train’s new quarters.
“It came to the College’s attention that [NCA 304] was financed by a donation and the intention was to have that be student housing,” Ellis said, speaking on behalf of senior staff. “There was really just a problem of communication, and there was no intention to contradict what any donor wanted,” Ellis added.
When the Collegian requested interviews with Chief Business Officer Mark Kohlman, who supervises facilities, and Vice President for College Relations Sarah Karhl, who oversees major donations, Ellis responded in their stead.
NCA 304 bears the name Roj House on a plaque on the building’s façade. The Roj brothers, Wesley and Douglas, graduated from Kenyon in 2004 and 2007, respectively. Their parents, William Roj and Mary Lynn Durham, maintain strong ties to the College, volunteering with the Kenyon Alumni Admissions Network. A College source with direct knowledge of the Rojs’ contribution history, who asked to remain anonymous, said the family donated $1 million to Kenyon to go toward the construction of NCA 304.
Wesley Roj, now a graduate student at Ohio University, declined to comment on-the-record for this story. Former President S. Georgia Nugent, one of the players behind the campaign to build the NCAs, did not immediately respond to request for comment.
While Train conceded the move would be a disruption, she said it would be “a little easier for me this time, because I know where everything’s going to go, because basically I’m moving from one apartment to a mirror image of the same apartment.
“I’m given the time to move, which is good,” she said. “It would be a lot more difficult, I think, if they asked me to move right before closing or opening or during a holiday or something like that, but they were able to work with me to make sure I had enough time to pack up and move.”
“It’s more than just a student moving a room,” she noted. Train owns a queen-sized bed, as well as dressers and other large pieces of furniture that she’ll have to ferry across both NCA loops to 10A. She added, however, that the College was helping cover the cost of the move and further accommodating her by building a sidewalk to what will be her patio and the main entrance to her flat.
“I’m happy with the apartment that was chosen,” Train said, adding that she was pleased she would have a relatively isolated yard where her dog could play without “tripping over students all the time and annoying them and pestering them.”
Train also emphasized that NCA 10 is easily accessible, both for students, due to its adjacency to the blue-tinted Allen House, and for herself, thanks to the personal parking spot she’s been promised.
“When you’re a live-in staff member, sometimes you have to live where the school tells you to live,” Train said.
While acknowledging that miscommunication occurred between the donors, administrators and builders, Ellis claimed the problem was one the College was “quick to correct.”
“It was just an innocent mistake, is what it was,” Ellis said.