Section: News

North Campus fence to prevent sidewalk and lawn damage

North Campus fence to prevent sidewalk and lawn damage

The posts will surround the NCAs. | COURTESY OF KENYON COMMUNICATIONS

Kenyon’s grounds management team plans to install wooden posts around the North Campus Apartments (NCAs) and New Apartments (New Apts) over the summer, according to Vice President for Facilities, Planning and Sustainability Ian Smith P’24 ’27. This installation intends to prevent vehicle access to these areas due to sustained damage on sidewalks, paths and lawns. 

Vehicles driving through the NCAs and the New Apts are not an unfamiliar sight for Kenyon students, particularly when it comes to food deliveries or on move-in days. However, as the sidewalks and fields throughout the NCAs are not meant for road traffic, vehicles driving through the area have caused regular damage. 

“One thing is for certain,” Smith wrote in an email to the Collegian. “The NCA and New Apartments path networks were not designed for the level of daily [and] weekly vehicular traffic that they have been experiencing.” 

According to Grounds Manager Corey Hitchman, the College has implemented several preventative measures in the past to minimize damage, such as the bollard posts in the middle of the sidewalks and large rocks lining the street. However, Hitchman noted that these methods were not entirely successful. “Individuals [keep] finding a way around those measures,” he said in an interview with the Collegian. “[We’re] trying to prevent tracks and damages to the sidewalks, because they’re just not meant for that much traffic.” 

Hitchman presented the proposed wooden post installation to the Gambier Village Council’s planning and zoning commission on Tuesday and emphasized that both Council members and neighboring property owners were in favor of the project. He added that the posts would be around four feet tall to limit driving access. The two proposals — one for the New Apts at 204 E. Woodside Drive and one for the NCAs at 212 N. Acland Street — were both unanimously approved 3-0, with one Council member abstaining from the vote. 

“A lot of them were in support of it. They had questions and concerns that we answered,” Hitchman said. 

One of these concerns was regarding the aesthetic impact of wooden posts, which Greg Spaid, a neighboring property owner in Gambier, raised questions about. According to the Council’s planning and zoning minutes, the College has budgeted $10,000 for fencing at both properties. “The College wouldn’t rule out replacing the fence sections later with a different style as budgets permit,” the minutes read. 

Smith emphasized that groundskeepers, along with consulting various departments at Kenyon, are working to “best resolve this issue both effectively and economically and with minimal aesthetic impacts.” 

Following Council approval, Kenyon will install the posts over the summer, with construction completed before the start of the fall semester. 

Though student access will be restricted, driving through the NCA circle will not be completely impossible, Hitchman clarified. The bollards, which currently stop cars from driving directly onto the sidewalk from the road, will remain in use and will be lowered for move-in and move-out days. In addition, Campus Safety will still maintain access to the NCA circle and the New Apts. 

“I think it’s important to know that we have been in contact with the community,” Hitchman said. “As far as Campus Safety, we let them know right away. The Village [and] the [Mount Vernon] Fire Department had no issues with emergency situations. I think everybody’s aware, and there’s a lot of support. And I hope it’s a good thing.” 

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