In the reshuffling of Kenyon’s English faculty, a new College building is up for grabs: Thomas House — otherwise known as R-28 — will be turned over to the Office of Residential Life (ResLife) and Student Affairs at the end of semester, following the departure of Richard L. Thomas Visiting Professor of Creative Writing Katharine Weber.
Weber currently rents the house at an “imputed rate” as an addendum to the position. However, as a result of the Department of English’s decision to change the Thomas Chair to a regular, tenure-track endowed professorship, the house will no longer be leased to them.
Chief Business Officer Mark Kohlman is in the process of determining the house’s future functionality.
“I need to circle back with the Provost and [Division of] Student Affairs, but the last conversation we had about this, when we knew that that position was leaving that house, was that house would go back to ResLife and it would become some kind of student use,” he said.
The house has been around at least since Doris Crozier — Dean of Women at the Coordinate College — occupied it in the late 1960s to early ’70s. According to Weber, it is similar in makeup, style and functionality to Treleaven House, albeit without the furnished seminar room. Due to its northern location and old age, Weber thinks it’s unlikely the College will want to invest a lot of money into the house. “I think it has more value for a living space or a Student Affairs use space,” she said.
While it remains unclear what will become of Thomas House, Kohlman said the College will definitely hold onto it.
“Given its location, I think it makes sense for it to be either a theme house or some other kind of housing. It’s on a big parcel that the College owns so it’s not a place that we would sell,” Kohlman said.
Either way, he said, ResLife and Student Affairs will have the final say in the house’s future.