Section: News

Breaking new ground: Exploring the campus’ projects

Wright Center

In an effort to revitalize the campus and the Village of Gambier, Kenyon has undertaken several construction projects over the past year, and has several others in the works. Additions include new retail spaces and student housing, as well as new homes for WKCO, the Gambier Deli and the Village Market. Here’s a guide to the status of all the construction projects on campus.

Wright Center: One year after the College first announced the project in 2016, the Wright Center in downtown Mount Vernon has opened its doors to students, faculty and community members. The $6 million, 18,000-square-foot building contains classrooms and studio space for the film department on the second floor and space for Mount Vernon-based nonprofit Science and Play Intersect (SPI) on the ground floor. SPI is an organization committed to “[enhancing] the Knox County community by bringing people of all ages together to explore science and technology through play,” according to their website. The SPI space will include a reading nook, space for physics experiments involving light and electricity and a small climbing wall. The newly formed Office for Community Partnerships, which was created to foster new relationships between the College and the surrounding community, is also housed in the Wright Center.

Visitors to the building will notice traces of construction as finishing touches are applied. “The building is not 100 percent complete — we still have two major contractors working in there installing televisions and wiring for the AV systems,” Construction Project Manager Seth Millam said, “but the film department is using the space, and Community Outreach moved in.” Film students who have class in the Wright Center this semester had class on campus for the first three classes to coordinate transport to town and scheduling.

“The main challenge has been figuring out how to get students down there, as the class schedule doesn’t align with the shuttle schedule,” Associate Professor of Film Jonathan Sherman said. Sherman also made it clear that any further delay in film students’ ability to use the building will likelier be due to transportation rather than construction. “No class that was initially planned to be in the building has been relocated, but there will certainly be an adjustment period as students get used to the fact that they need time to get to Mount Vernon,” he said.

A grand-opening community event will be held at the Wright Center on Feb. 9.

Campus Auto
New Market










Village of Gambier Restoration: As the frame of the new Village Market rises on the corner of Ward St. and Chase St., the College is finalizing plans for the demolition of Farr Hall and the current Village Market this summer. Farr Hall and the Market will be replaced by several new buildings, including a new home for the Gambier Deli and two new retail spaces. A shared basement, replacing the current Farr Hall basement, will accommodate space for WKCO and other student groups. Student residences will occupy the second floors of these new buildings, and will supplement two new NCA-style residences in the space previously occupied by the Gambier Grill and Student Activities Office. There will also be new residences on the second floor of the new Market building. The Campus Auto building will be refurbished over the summer in preparation for its new occupants, who will take over the space in place of Campus Auto, by the end of summer. The new operator will provide all the same services as Campus Auto, including gas and automotive repair.

Black Box: Although delayed by one semester due to an architectural plan that lacked a fire-prevention system, the new Black Box Theater, located adjacent to the Craft Center, held its first open house on Jan. 23. It will stage its first event — a comedy show put on by the Ballpit Whalers — on Jan. 28. “Lights are still being hung and a sound system is on its way,” Black

Box Student Manager Ethan Fuirst ’17 said, “but the new Black Box is already leagues more accessible and outfitted than what we had in the past, especially the green room painted ‘Riverway.’”


KAC Café: Students looking to enjoy a cold smoothie after their workouts will no longer be able to enjoy them at the KAC Café. The café, which was run by Kenyon’s food provider AVI Foodsystems, closed primarily due to financial difficulties. “It was more the College making the decision [to close the café] than AVI, and it was mostly because of poor financial performance,” Chief Business Officer Mark Kohlman said. “We’re working on a plan to turn the space into a classroom; hopefully it will be up by the end of the semester.”


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