March 24, 2020
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This will cluster many of the faculty who contribute to the interdisciplinary programs of American studies, Asian and Middle East studies, international studies, law and society, public policy and women’s and gender studies.
“We are bringing several departments together that are currently scattered and that have a good capacity to collaborate — and we’re bringing them all right to the center of campus,” said Provost Joseph Klesner.
The Center for the Study of American Democracy (CSAD) will also relocate to the new West Quad academic building to better integrate its programming with the faculty there and to take advantage of a 265-seat auditorium in the building’s lower level.
The auditorium will fill a need on campus for events too large for the 180-seat auditorium in Higley Hall and smaller than the 600 seats in Rosse Hall, said Chief Business Officer Mark Kohlman. There will be direct access to the auditorium from the parking deck being built under the West Quad, and reception areas on the lower level and ground floor of the academic building will allow CSAD to host post-lecture events near the auditorium, Klesner said.
A 15-by-40-foot stage could also make the auditorium an ideal venue for vocal and small ensemble musical performances, he said. Video to livestream events would extend the auditorium’s audience beyond campus.
The first floor of the academic building will be classrooms and collaborative work spaces. Two classrooms will have traditional classroom seating for 35, and a third classroom will have flexible seating and large media screens and equipment.
“This will be a major upgrade in terms of classroom space, for the history department especially,” Klesner said. “In considering who should move into the new building, a really important consideration was that these faculty are spread across multiple buildings and don’t have access to larger classrooms, though they tend to teach some of the larger classes.”
The second, third and fourth floors of the academic building will house 48 offices total and have a seminar room on each floor. Each floor also has collaborative space that can be used by students or faculty.
The new building also solves the current accessibility issues with the anthropology lab on the second floor of Palme House, a converted Victorian residence. A fourth classroom on the first floor of the West Quad academic building will be an anthropology classroom of about 800 square feet, with an adjoining room of about 600 square feet that can be seminar or lab class space for anthropology work, Kohlman said.
When all of the West Quad projects are complete, including renovations to Ascension Hall, 90 percent of Kenyon’s classrooms will be accessible, up from 71 percent currently; 100 percent of classrooms with 20- to 99-seat capacity will be accessible.
The academic building will sit adjacent to the College cemetery and not disturb the cemetery, Kohlman said. The current gate access to the cemetery will remain accessible after the building is in place.
Construction of the academic building and the Kenyon Commons library building in the West Quad allows long-term planning to thoughtfully repurpose the houses vacated when departments move.