Eating and Infrastructure

Anonymous gift to fund expansion and upgrade of Peirce Hall

Peirce Hall, where students dine amid the splendor of stained glass windows and elegant woodwork, has long been one of Kenyon's showpieces. Behind the scenes, it's a different story. The kitchen is cramped, the storage areas glaringly inadequate, and the servery ill designed for current trends in campus dining.

The College will soon remedy these problems, thanks to an anonymous $8 million gift for the expansion and upgrading of Peirce as well as the adjacent Dempsey Hall. The project, for which planning will begin this summer, will include new dining spaces in a two-story glass addition to the eastern side of Dempsey Hall, overlooking the lawn that slopes down toward the athletic center. The terraces that face the lawn will be shifted eastward, and stairs will lead from Peirce Terrace directly down to the lawn.

The Great Hall will remain aesthetically unchanged, as will other landmark spaces such as Peirce Lounge and the Bemis Music Room. But a major expansion of both the kitchen and the servery area will change the daily student dining experience. Enlarging the servery will allow the food service to replace the traditional cafeteria line with a number of food stations. This arrangement, which tends to promote greater choices in styles of food, is becoming increasingly common on college campuses.

Plans also include the addition of restrooms on the first floor of Peirce. The basement restrooms will be reconfigured in order to enlarge the pub space. Food preparation and storage areas on the basement level will be expanded, and a new loading dock with access from the south parking lot will reduce delivery-truck traffic on College-Park Street. A passenger elevator will be installed in Peirce. The new restrooms, along with the elevator, will make Peirce handicapped accessible.

The changes are based in part on suggestions from students. Also contributing to the plans were the Gund Partnership, architects, and Ricca Newmark Design, a food-services consulting firm.