Where once students worked hard, now they’ll be partying hard.
Colburn Hall, which sits behind Bexley Hall and most recently housed studio art space, will replace Weaver Cottage as a party venue this year.
Renovations to Colburn are expected to be completed by Oct. 10, according to Associate Dean of Students Tacci Smith.
The decision was made after a year of discussions among Smith, the Student Affairs staff and Dean of Students Hank Toutain. Weaver will still be available for smaller events, such as meetings and dinners.
Weaver was too small and had too few restrooms for the number of people at all-campus parties, according to Smith. In addition, Weaver smelled “like the basement of Old Kenyon,” Chief Business Officer Mark Kohlman said; Smith attributed the odor to the beer-soaked carpet.
Weaver will instead be used for professional events, such as receptions and sit-down dinners, and smaller student events, such as Weaver Wednesday. “Alcohol is still allowed in Weaver, just not ‘keg parties’,” Smith said.
In spring 2015, the College’s building repair and replacement budget allocated $45,000 to $50,000 for renovations to Weaver and Colburn. Weaver was renovated in summer 2015 to construct a new wood floor.
“I think it’ll be a great compromise for overcrowded party spaces like Weaver,” Smith said. “It might even solve the overcrowding for parties in places like the North Campus Apartments.” Colburn totals 1,372 square feet and “after an interior renovation this space could be ideally suited as a student social space,” Kenyon’s master plan reads.
The Student Affairs Committee realized another student party space would be necessary after approving the Weaver renovation, and settled on Colburn. Kohlman, who was heavily involved in the renovations of Weaver and Colburn, said, “We were looking for existing spaces that were large enough to accommodate those sorts of events.”
The current occupancy of Colburn is 100 people, according to Smith. She said if the College could add an additional bathroom and expand the outdoor space, Colburn could fit as many as 140 to 200 people.
Some students were indifferent to the change. “I don’t mind the change in location — I just didn’t know Colburn existed till this week,” Katie Connell ’18 said. “Parties in Weaver were weird anyways.”
College Historian Tom Stamp ’73 expressed displeasure at Colburn being repurposed as a party space. “I think it’s a misuse of a historical facility,” Stamp said. “It’s always best to look for ways to use such spaces to reflect their original uses.”
Colburn was built in 1904 and served as the Bexley Seminary’s library.
Major renovations have yet to start on Colburn Hall, according to Kohlman.
Kohlman said Colburn’s availability as a party space would be contingent on the behavior of students, especially since Colburn is attached to Bexley Hall, which houses offices. “We want to encourage responsible events and behavior … so we don’t have to eliminate the space or put more control of the event space,” Kohlman said.