On Friday, the Office of Residential Life (ResLife) announced details surrounding the new dormitory Bexley Hall’s supplemental housing selection process via email. After two years of renovation, Bexley and Colburn Halls will open for student use in spring 2024.
Built between 1839 and 1843, the 180-year-old Bexley Hall was originally intended to be a seminary. The building had many subsequent uses; the 1910–1911 Course Catalog listed Bexley as the home of Kenyon’s Divinity School, and in 1963, Kenyon’s finance offices were in Bexley, until Kenyon’s Art Department moved into the building in 1972. Next semester, the building will serve as Kenyon’s newest student dormitory.
Dean of Students Brian Janssen emphasized how the recent renovations aimed to retain the building’s original architectural style while also incorporating more modern elements. “They’re trying to keep as much of the original architecture and feel [as possible],” he said in an interview with the Collegian. “I think they did a nice job of blending the updated versions, while also trying to maintain historical integrity and purity of the building outside it. It’s an amazing space. There’s nothing else at Kenyon like it.”
The newly renovated Bexley Hall is made up of six 6-person suites — five suites with two singles and two doubles each, and one Americans with Disabilities Act-accessible suite with three doubles — as well as two double rooms, one of which is the Community Advisor room. In addition to keyless entry, air conditioning, a basement laundry room and an elevator, Bexley Hall has both a common area kitchen and several lounges.
“I think the big thing that we’re excited about in ResLife is keyless entry, because handling the number of keys on campus is always a lot,” Director of Residential Life Leah Reuber said in an interview with the Collegian. “This will be a really great one for sustainability and safety.”
In addition to the upcoming availability of Bexley as a residence hall, Colburn Hall — which originally served as a library attached to Bexley — has also undergone construction. Colburn will reopen with Bexley to offer student organizations and Greek life another space for meetings and events. Colburn now features built-in lighting and sound systems, redone bathrooms and a new patio, according to Janssen.
With a capacity of around 100 people and a wide-open floor plan, Janssen expressed excitement at the potential Colburn has as a renovated student space. “I think it will meet a campus need,” he said. “I think we’ll see some movement away from Old [Kenyon], probably up towards Colburn when it’s ready to go.”
Bexley Hall first opened to visitors on Sept. 30 over Homecoming weekend, when alumni and faculty had the opportunity to tour the renovated space. In an email sent to the student body on Monday, ResLife announced two similar opportunities for students to visit the new dormitory. Students visited Bexley on Tuesday, while Wednesday’s tour has been rescheduled for Friday from 1 to 2 p.m.
According to the email sent to the student body, Bexley Hall supplemental housing entries must be submitted by Tuesday. All non-first-year students are eligible for any of the Bexley Hall suites and doubles, although groups interested in the suite must meet the full six-person occupancy requirement. Students interested in moving into Bexley must be on campus for the spring 2024 semester. Students who are currently on leave and have not yet been readmitted are not eligible at this time.
Both Janssen and Reuber expressed enthusiasm about the student body’s reactions to Bexley and Colburn, and about the future it holds for residential spaces on campus. “I think it’ll be very popular for students this year [and] this semester, but then extremely popular when we go into housing selection for next year,” Reuber said.
News Editor Rachel Botkin ’24 contributed to reporting.