Section: News

Village raises concerns over Master Plan

Students are not the only ones concerned about how the implementation of the Master Plan will affect the College and Village of Gambier. The College’s chief business officer, Mark Kohlman, fielded concerns about the plan from Gambier Village Council members at the February council meeting on Monday.

Newly inaugurated Gambier Mayor Kachen Kimmell and Village Council members Betsy Heer and Liz Forman raised concerns over the Village potentially knocking down the Black Box Theater, former home of the People’s Bank of Gambier, a historic building, and moving the Village Market to that space. Kohlman’s reasoning was that the market would need to stay in operation while Farr Hall was being demolished.

A campus forum for faculty and staff was held Jan. 14, before students came back to campus,  to discuss the Master Plan, according to Chief Business Officer Mark Kohlman, who led the meeting.

The purpose of the meeting was to present the Master Plan.

Beyond the destruction of the historic bank building, there are concerns from the Village Council that the new market location will create traffic problems on East Wiggin Street when deliveries are made at the market.

Though students and villagers have responded negatively to some plans, one change — the demolition of Olin-Chalmers Library — was selected by a majority of 583 student respondees as a main priority.

Tentative floor plans for the new library, designed by Gund Partnership, are on the second floor of Chalmers Library. Vice president for library and information services (LBIS) Ron Griggs sent an email this semester asking for comments on these plans and many suggestions have been left on the provided paper next to the plans.

A faculty-only forum was scheduled by Griggs last semester, but no one attended.

Comments suggest individual study spaces and more carrels for seniors.  Currently there are only 26 carrels. Additional study spaces are a primary goal for the new library, according to Ron Griggs, vice president of Library and Information Services. At present, the library can only accommodate 500 students. The new building will have space for more than 800.

Though one comment cites a lack of gender-neutral bathrooms shown in the floor plans, Griggs and Amy Badertscher, associate vice president for LBIS and library director, said many of the details present on the floor plans will be adjusted. Gender-neutral bathrooms will be included in the new building, according to Griggs and Badertscher.

In addition to providing more space for students, the new library will be designed to include more space for such library services as special collections, which has filled its available space, and an expansion of the Student Accessibility Services (SAS) offices.

Re-organizing office space for staff will also be an important part of the design, according to Griggs and Badertscher. Currently, staff offices are spread throughout the library, some hidden deep in the stacks, which Griggs said is inefficient for collaborative work. The College is in talks to contract with Brightspot Strategy LLC, a consulting firm that helps institutions design efficient office space

Timmy Broderick ’16, chair of the student Buildings and Grounds committee, said Buildings and Grounds is working to disseminate information about the new library and Broderick said he hopes students give their input on the new building.

0 Comments

Comments for this article have closed. If you'd like to send a letter to the editor for publication, please email us at collegian@kenyon.edu.