Main Building

Main Building is the College’s most iconic building and the central crossroads for the entire campus community. The building has undergone a variety of renovations since its completion in 1865, including the addition of the College Center in 1975. The Dober Lidsky Mathey report identified Main Building as in need of a complete renovation, and because of the historical significance of the building, indicated the renovation should be a high priority for the College. Because of the College Center's intimate relationship to Main and its critical importance to everyday College life, the renovation of the College Center will take place along with the renovation of Main. The renovation of Main and the College Center is a daunting project; it is 215,000 GSF, more than 2 1⁄2 times larger than the new Bridge for Laboratory Sciences, and houses approximately 300 students. Deciding how Main Building is to be used after it is renovated helps determine the use and programming of other buildings in the Campus Master Plan. The logistical challenges of relocating the existing occupants during renovation need to be carefully choreographed so that disruptions to the College are minimized and success is assured. The College will need to marshal its resources and come up with the right plan for this, the heart of campus.

Inclusive Learning Community

Main Building should continue to serve as a primary center of campus life. Survey data and input provided by various campus constituencies during community forums indicate an overwhelming interest in maintaining Main as a student residence and as a home for student services and major administrative functions that serve the college community on a daily basis. Together with mixed use spaces that support social and intellectual activities, Main and the College Center should be strengthened as a central locus of student and community life. While vital administrative units, including the Office of the President, Dean of the College, Residential Life, and Dean of Students, should remain in Main Building, there are several administrative units (e.g., office of the Vice President for Finance, Dean of Strategic Planning and Academic Resources) that rarely interface with students and faculty that should be relocated to non-central buildings on campus such as Kenyon Hall. These administrative units take up valuable space in the building that could be better utilized for residential space, student services, and shared multi-purpose space for the community.

Kenyon 2.pdf
Main Building.pdf

One possible option for the renovation of Main includes the strategic clustering of student services, such as the Career Development Office and the Field Work Office, which are currently on opposite wings of the building. This clustering of related units would increase the synergy between these student services and help our students develop their professional skill sets.

Academic Administration

  • President of the College
  • Dean of the Faculty
  • Dean of the College
  • Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action

Main Building’s central location also makes it an ideal meeting location for different campus constituencies. However, the current configuration of rooms does not allow for optimal utilization for different purposes. Therefore, a renovated Main Building and the College Center should include new multi-functional learning spaces of varying sizes that could accommodate small class seminar rooms, meetings for student organizations, and training for administrators faculty, and/or residential life house teams.

With respect to residential life, the Residential Task Force has identified self-contained housing suites organized around a common living space as a new option for Main. These kinds of residential units would have two interrelated purposes. First, the construction of such desirable units would draw seniors back to the center of campus, helping to create living spaces occupied by students from different class years. Secondly, these new suites would help create more opportunities for engagement between seniors and underclassmen through mentorship and leadership opportunities.

Student Facing Services

  • Dean of Students Office
  • Dean of Studies Office
  • Campus Activities and College Center
  • Career Development
  • Student Financial Services
  • Office of Accessibility and Educational Opportunity
  • Registrar's Office
  • Student Centers
  • Office for Fellowships & Pre-Health Advising
  • Campus Life and Diversity
  • Office of International Programs
  • Computer Service Desk

With the renovation of Main and the College Center comes the opportunity to “re-center” the center of Campus. For much of its existence, Main had an imposing front, facing Main Gate, and a back yard which housed the laundry building, the power plant, and other back of house functions. As the campus has evolved eastward, the back of Main is as important a face of the building as the front, but is cluttered by an unsightly and uninviting loading dock and no direct easy way in or out. A redesign of the interior of the building and the elimination of vehicular circulation around the building, will recenter Main as a true cross-roads for the campus community.


The age of Main Building makes it an optimal structure for a variety of sustainability initiatives. The majority of these efforts should focus on the building’s envelope and its heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. The College has seen an increase in occupant complaints and work orders related to all of these systems in recent years. As identified in the "Building Condition Audit" (see Appendix), the windows and doors in Main Building have outlived their useful lifespans, and this has increased heating and cooling demands due to the large number of windows in the building. This problem is further compounded by the building’s deteriorating heating system, because the steam supply and return piping are beyond their useful lifespans and no longer provide optimal energy efficiency in Main Building. Taken together, the college should consider geothermal heating for Main and the possibility of solar panels on the roof of the College Center.


The historical significance of Main Building requires that it be carefully and respectfully renovated to insure its historical value and importance to the College are undiminished. The “Building Condition Audit” (see Appendix) found significant concerns with numerous components of the building's envelope and indicates that the exterior walls and masonry have deteriorated over time and are now in need of rehabilitation. The roof of the building is also nearing the end of its lifespan and will need to be replaced in the near future. This is also true for many of the building's windows, doors, plumbing and electrical systems, ceilings, floors, and heating systems. After one hundred and fifty years of use, it is not surprising that Main is no longer an energy efficient building nor that it has seen an increase in its heating and cooling demands. These issues have resulted into a significant increase in the numbers of complaints and work orders submitted by those who reside and work in the building and have required significant amounts of attention from Facilities Operations in recent years.