The new Chalmers Library will open for student use in April, President Sean Decatur told the Collegian on Wednesday.
However, Construction Project Manager Seth Millam was less optimistic. “With the construction turnover date pushing out later into the spring, the window for opening the library for use during spring semester is closing,” he wrote in an email to the Collegian. Millam also said that possible labor shortages, as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in Ohio, could cause further delays.
Construction on the library was initially slated to finish this past summer, but this date has been pushed back several times, due to supply chain delays as well as excavation issues in the fall of 2018.
In a sign of progress, however, the wall running parallel to Middle Path was taken down Wednesday, allowing students a view of the new library. Decatur noted that construction on the front of the building should be completed by February.
Construction began with the demolition of the Olin and Chalmers Memorial Library in September 2018. The library project was made possible by an anonymous $75 million donation. Since then, the College has been without a library, meaning only the current seniors have experienced Kenyon with a library. And, if Millam is correct, they may never get to see the new one.
Millam said the construction project has allowed the College to build strong relationships with the construction company and architects. “[These relationships] will provide a foundation for continued success as we finish out construction on the other components of the West Quad,” he said.
Construction is ongoing on the remainder of the West Quad, including new admissions and academic buildings, which will be completed in fall 2021 and summer 2022, respectively.
The library, in addition to featuring several classrooms and student service offices, is designed to include numerous study spaces, which have been in short supply since construction began.
“Chalmers Library is going to be a great addition to Kenyon’s physical environment and I’m excited to see how the community will utilize all of the new spaces it provides,” Millam said.