Student apartments, study space for 100 students, a courtyard, the new and improved Gambier Deli and a fast-casual restaurant — Gaskin Avenue is up for big changes in 2019.
The three new buildings adjacent to the bookstore will house two new study spaces and the redesigned Gambier Deli on the ground level. An interconnected basement level will accommodate the Chilitos Fresh Mex and Margaritas by Fiesta Mexicana owner José Avalos, as well as Kenyon’s WKCO radio station, IT storage space and three new offices for the Office of Student Engagement. The upper level will house student apartments.
Everything is set to be done in January except for the Deli, which could be done as early as mid-November. “I suspect they’ll be ready to go before Thanksgiving break,” Chief Business Officer Mark Kohlman said. “By the end of the week we’ll start working with [the Deli] to move their stuff in.”
The new building for the Gambier Deli will closely resemble its old layout in the old Farr Hall. “[It’s the] same general concept, but a little bit newer, a little bit updated,” Seth Millam, construction project manager, said. As in Farr, the new Deli will open through a side door to two gender-neutral, public restrooms. Altogether, there will be a total of six public restrooms between the bookstore and Deli.
The two buildings to the right of the Deli will be used as study spaces until the new library is completed in 2020, when they will be reserved for commercial use. Millam said he hopes that students will have the opportunity to help choose the new business tenants.
When the buildings open in January, they will contribute a great deal to the College’s collection of much-needed study space. “I think [there are] plans to get another hundred seats between this building and the other one,” Millam said.
There will also be student housing on the upper-level of all three buildings, with a four-person occupancy in the middle apartment and two six-person ones on either side. The new residences will mirror the Market Apartments in style and centralized location, according to Millam. Upon completion, they will be used for students returning from off-campus during the spring semester and will then be added to the housing lottery for the following year.
Chilitos Fresh Mex and Margaritas restaurant will have its front entrance across from Unity and Snowden. Its dining area will take up the center of the interconnected basement level, with a bar and additional outside seating. “On this level [of the buildings], you kind of have this natural courtyard concept,” Millam said.
Chilitos will differ slightly from its Mount Vernon counterparts, in that it will have a bar with TVs and offer American food options.
“From talking to [Avalos] about interior design aspect, he was saying it’s not like his other restaurants that are in Mount Vernon,” Millam said. While the restaurant will include a “Latin flair,” it will also incorporate a “sports-bar-esque kind of theme,” Millam said.
The new restaurant is also set for completion before the beginning of next semester. “I’m 90 percent certain when you come back in January it’ll be open,” Kohlman said. “It might even be a little bit before that, but I don’t think it’ll be open before you all leave in December.”