By Maya Kaufman
The New Apartments might soon be missing a letter of the alphabet. E-block is slated to be decommissioned next year and destroyed at a later date. In addition, the apartments above the Gambier Grill will no longer be a housing option for students.
The decision was prompted by the yearly reevaluation of Kenyon’s housing situation, when this year administrators decided that the campus could afford the loss of 12 beds.
“In evaluating which properties [we would take offline], we looked at the ones that had the most structural deficiencies or serious maintenance issues,” Chief Business Officer Mark Kohlman said, “and we concluded that the Gambier Grill apartments and the E-block apartments were of the highest priority to take offline.”
Some New Apts — E-Block not included — were renovated over the summer in order to prolong their lives. In a Collegian article published in February, Kohlman was quoted as saying, “Knowing that we’re going to need to use those apartments for at least another decade, we needed to make some upgrades to make them last and be comfortable for students.”
Benjamin Grindle-deGraaf ’15, a resident of E-block, listed mold, flimsy doors, rickety stairs, lack of hot water, dirt and debris in the bathtubs, the difficulty of regulating temperature and easy access for bugs as some of the many issues he has faced while living in his New Apt.
“We expected a little bit higher quality when we chose this situation last year, but it’s one thing after another living here,” Grindle-deGraaf said. “You get used to it, but it definitely doesn’t need to be like this, especially for the price you pay. If you look at an NCA and then you look at this, it’s kind of ridiculous that we’re paying the same price when we have holes in our walls and bugs that can just crawl under our door.”
Jack Fraser ’15, who lives with Grindle-deGraaf in E-block, is equally repulsed. “A Maintenance worker who was cleaning our bathroom told us she was surprised the College let anyone live here,” he said.
In fact, it was the maintenance issues that inspired much of the talk surrounding the housing decision. The funds that would have been used to renovate the Gambier Grill apartments and E-block will be funneled into other, smaller housing projects across campus, like new bedroom and lounge furniture and better lighting.
It is unknown when E-Block will be razed. A contractor has yet to be brought in to provide an estimate for the cost of demolishing E-block. In the meantime, the Gambier Grill apartments and E-block will remain standing for the duration of the 2014-2015 academic year and will be maintained in case there is a sudden need for them.