Section: News

Kenyon plans to upgrade Wiggin Street Coffee’s electricity

Kenyon plans to upgrade Wiggin Street Coffee’s electricity


Plans to increase the electrical capacity to Wiggin Street Coffee (Wiggins) are underway, which would allow the coffee shop to once again operate a functioning toaster. Construction will also update the building’s exterior appearance and HVAC system. 

Students began noticing the toaster’s absence in October, when Wiggins’ employees started to offer the option to have the cafe’s bagels and baked goods either microwaved or served cold. A sign on the counter informed patrons that an “electrical issue” was at fault, leaving many customers wondering when — or if — the toaster would function again. 

The “electrical issue” in question pertains to the building’s electrical services, which are currently strained from daily coffee shop operations. Increasing the building’s electrical capacity requires an overhaul of Wiggins’ current electrical system, something that can only be done by an external electrical contractor, according to Vice President for Facilities, Planning and Sustainability Ian Smith P’24 ’27. 

“Our maintenance electricians are very capable. They really know what they’re doing, and they’re very experienced,” Smith said in an interview with the Collegian. “But they don’t have the level of licensing and certifications — that you almost never need — to do this level of work.”

While finding an external electrical contractor already presents one complication to the process, lingering effects from the pandemic have further complicated construction. Many qualified electrical contractors retired during the pandemic, shrinking the pool of available contractors already spread thin by construction of the Intel campus in Columbus. 

While the College finalized construction plans over winter break, they must also be approved by a state agency — which, according to Smith, is currently navigating an extensive backlog leftover from the pandemic.

Despite these delays, Smith feels optimistic about Wiggins’ electricity being repaired soon. “My understanding [is] they’ve had those plans for review since January,” Smith said. “We expect to hear back from the state any time now. The contractor is ready to go as soon as we know.” Wiggins will likely close for a few days during construction, which, according to Smith, is “pretty extensive.” 

In an interview with the Collegian, frequent Wiggins patron Sadie Martinez ’27 expressed faith in the student body’s love for the coffee shop. “The toaster now has been down the majority of the year,” she said in an interview with the Collegian. “[But if the toaster never came back] I know I wouldn’t stop going there. I don’t know anybody who would stop going there.” 

News Editor Thea Millenson-Wilens ’27 contributed to reporting.


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