GAMBIER — Installation of the roof trusses completes the latest phase on a building construction project at Kenyon College.
Construction of a new building, the Art History Gallery Museum, began last fall in an open space near Chalmers Library and is expected to be completed in time for fall semester classes of 2011.
“This building was planned in order to update the arts department,” said Tom Lepley, director of Facilities Planning. It was planned by college administrators and senior staff members who wanted to have a gallery building. This building is the first phase of that process as a studio arts building is next in the plans.
The 30,000-square-foot structure will house art professors and faculty offices on the first floor as well as classrooms and a work area. A basement will be used for artwork storage and will also utilize a 130-seat lecture auditorium. The top floor will be a completely open 5,000-square-foot room used to showcase artworks of students and non-students.
“This will be built with standards similar to the Smithsonian,” said Lepley, explaining how it will incorporate climate control settings for humidity, lighting and security to help preserve sensitive artwork. “It will be a totally electric building using geothermal technology with 56 geothermal wells, each at 400 feet deep for heating and cooling purposes.”
The sawtooth design of the roof trusses allows for the use of glass skylights for natural lighting. The three trusses were trucked last week then lifted into place with a 500-ton crane. It took seven semis to get the crane to the work site and an entire day’s work to put together.
The job is being contracted by the Albert M. Higley Co. in Cleveland and is being funded all through private donations.
This is just one of many large projects that Lepley has overseen in his 40 years at Kenyon, including the construction of the Kenyon Athletic Center.
Following the construction of the Studio Arts, Lepley said the college is planning to build student town houses.