Section: Opinion

New film building deserves a second look

As a prospective film major, I was excited to hear the news of Kenyon’s purchase of the Buckeye Candy and Tobacco Company building in downtown Mount Vernon.

The film department launched in 2011, and doesn’t have impressive resources such as a studio — a fact that could deter prospective students interested in film from committing to Kenyon. I’m in the midst of filming a short for the “Intro to Film” class, and the only real filming location available off-campus is Murnen House; once a lovely space, this house behind the KAC is now falling apart. It seems better suited for a ghost-hunting psychological thriller than anything else.

In addition to benefiting the Kenyon community, the downtown location of the new building provides opportunities for more community involvement as detailed in the Collegian article, “For $6 million, Kenyon gives Buckeye building makeover” (April 7). The new film space will involve students from Knox County, and this is a great way for younger kids to get involved in film and explore their interests.

A new film studio in this area available for rent will provide economic opportunities for the surrounding area. There are some questionable logistical components to the new plans, however. Since the Buckeye building is off campus, the distance could create some issues for students without reliable transportation. I am hoping the shuttle to the new location will be functional and efficient. The surrounding shops would also benefit to start accepting K-Cards as payment to make it easier for students.

The building may feature large windows, as Gund Partnership is designing the renovation. Since the building is not on campus, Gund’s influence is expanding, permeating Mount Vernon.

Unlike the controversial library plans, the renovation of the new building is not directly affecting students in the same way a campus lacking a library would. For this reason, Gund’s influence in this project doesn’t really bother me (I do love me some natural light), but it is becoming harder to ignore his presence and ambiguous authority.

Regardless of the architecture, the acquisition of the new building  not only the film department, but will also strengthen the ties between Kenyon and the community and will hopefully provide new and valuable opportunities to community members and students alike.

Jacqueleen Eng ’19 is undeclared from Chatham, N.J. Contact her at engj@kenyon.edu.

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