Section: News

Fire safety systems show need for updates

Kenyon is no stranger to fires. But a lack of time and resources may be hindering its ability to upgrade the fire-safety systems on campus.

While state law only requires full sprinkler systems to be present in buildings constructed after 2000, some students and administrators have raised questions about Kenyon’s fire preparedness. “It’s concerning that older buildings like McBride don’t have sprinkler systems,” Sydney Telaak ’19 said.

North Campus Apartments (NCAs), Taft Cottages, Caples and Hanna Residence Hall are the only residential buildings at the College with full sprinkler systems, according to the 2014 Kenyon College Annual Security and Fire Safety Report.

The only residences currently in violation of fire code are the Morgan Apartments, which are not equipped with a fire-alarm monitoring system.

“Older buildings, such as the ones on south quad, are going to need more than a summer’s worth of work to bring up to code,” Lisa Train, associate director of Housing and Residential Life, said. “Unfortunately, we don’t have that kind of time.”

Steve Arnett, director of facility operations, said installing sprinkler systems in the south-campus buildings would not be cost-effective. “Sprinkler systems need to be part of a major renovation project,” Arnett said.

Nonetheless, Kenyon demonstrated its commitment to fire prevention this summer by installing a web-based detection system called Fireworks in the Acland Apartments. The Kenyon Athletic Center, Gund Gallery and Horvitz Hall will also be included under the Fireworks system.


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