Over the course of the West Quad construction project, Kenyon College’s official webcam, Horvitz Hall, the Gund Gallery and Brandi Recital Hall have provided the best vantage points to peer down into the pit that will become the West Quad and subterranean parking deck. Beginning next week, though, the pit itself will be open to group tours.
Seth Millam, construction project manager, is currently offering a tour of the pit to the Library and Information Services staff, with plans to continue offering tours of the construction site to groups of around 10 people throughout the duration of the project. He envisions tours taking place on Friday afternoons at 4:30 p.m., when the work week is winding down.
According to Millam, offering tours is not unusual on a construction project, though usually these are offered to stakeholders and end-users, such as key staff members.
For Nathan Grosh ’19, building and grounds committee chair on Student Council, these tours are an opportunity for anyone who wants simply to see what is going on.
“[The construction site is] going to be a huge part of Kenyon for the next two years — really four years now for the long-term — so it would be insane if it was just behind this wall and no one really knew what was going on,” Grosh said. Millam said that explaining the construction process to people is one of the more fun aspects of his job.
“I enjoy walking people around and telling them about what’s happening and answering questions that they may have, and experiencing and hearing what their insights might be in respect to it,” Millam said. “So, the goal is to allow people to see beyond the wall.”
The specifics of each tour will depend on the progress at the construction site at a given time. Millam expects to meet with the site superintendent before each tour to get a feel for where each tour will go.
“At the end of the day, it’s a way for students that want to be a part of the project and want to understand it to be able to do that, who want to feel like this thing that’s happening in their community, they know about it now,” he said.
Students, faculty and staff who go on these tours must wear closed-toed, flat shoes, long pants and shirts with sleeves. Kenyon will provide all other safety equipment, including a hard hat, safety glasses and a safety vest.
The first tour open to the Kenyon community will be on April 12. Millam said that he will send out an email with a link to a Google Form where people can sign up. Spots for the first tour will be reserved on a first come, first served basis. For now, tours will only be available to people who have Kenyon email addresses, but Millam also said he might open up tours to the broader Gambier community over the summer.
For any questions and comments regarding the West Quad and other ongoing construction projects, students, faculty and staff can utilize this form.