There is still no set timeline for when Olin and Chalmers Library will be demolished, but months of planning are underway. This has been the case since last April, when Chief Business Officer Mark Kohlman said in an article in the April 21 issue of the Collegian that a timeline was not – finalized for the project, which is a key part of Kenyon’s Master Plan.
“The design is still evolving and fundraising is still going on — so at some point we’ll have a more fleshed out, finalized version of the design and we’ll also have money,” President Sean Decatur said in an interview on Tuesday. “Olin and Chalmers won’t be coming down any time soon.”
Decatur is hoping to have a timeline for the new library by the Spring; the more the College knows about the design of the library, the more money they will be able to raise, according to Decatur. The College has not raised enough money yet, and therefore does not have a budget for the building.
With a new plan, “you can actually show people ‘here’s actually what it will look like,” Decatur said. “And it’s start- ing to get there already, where we can describe in more detail ‘these are the types of spaces that will have inside the building.’”
For Decatur, the perfect library would include three crucial aspects. The first is spaces for better technology, especially concerning data visualization and digital media, and ones that can easily be adapted as technology continues to evolve. Decatur also wants improved student study spaces that provide more flexibility for modern technology, including more outlets. Lastly, this perfect library would bring together resources like the Career Development Office, the Registrar’s Office, the Academic Advising Center and the Writing Center — all into one space to create a “cluster of things that all support student learning and student academic work,” Decatur said.
In terms of the actual footprint of the new space, Decatur expects it will be a little smaller than that of Olin and Chalmers. He said this is because the current library is inefficient, and that the new design will have more usable space. In the Collegian article from the April 21 issue, Kohlman said the new building will be a six- floor structure, with changes to the special collection and archives rooms. Decatur echoed many of Kohlman’s comments from last year, and said improved spaces for the Archives and Special Collections are a priority.
Gund Partnership, run by alumnus Graham Gund ’63 H’81, is designing the new library. Gund will give a lecture on Feb.28 at 8p.m.in the Community Foundation Theater of Gund Gallery as part of the Kenyon Unique lecture series, which features conversations with distinguished faculty members and Kenyon alumni.