By Gary Houseknecht ʼ66
Eighteen College alumni and friends descended on West Hall for the March Volunteer Work Week project to continue their on-going rehabilitation work.
For alumni with short memories, West is the small brick dormitory on the south side of E. North College Street—the campus building closest to Xenia Avenue. The goal is to have enough of the work done by June, so that the College can get a conditional occupancy permit from the Village, and open West for housing during Reunion 2015. Several alumni volunteers who live in Yellow Springs, along with College Physical Plant staff, will be working occasionally between now and Reunion to help ensure we actually get the occupancy permit. More cosmetic work will happen in the months following reunion. After reunion, West will be available principally to house volunteers and short term guests of the College. When student enrollment grows to a certain point, it may again be needed for student housing.
As of the end of the March project, the volunteers had accomplished all of the following:
- All the interior walls have been scraped, repaired, and primed—ready for painting.
- All the unrepairable parts of the second-floor ceiling have been removed and an estimated one thousand pounds of it carried out and discarded.
- A new ceiling was installed in all other areas where needed.
- Hundreds of nails and staples per room have been pulled from the original hardwood floors and the damaged areas repaired well enough for occupancy. Higher quality repairs will be done later, using century-old maple flooring that the volunteers tore up and salvaged in 2013 when Curl gym was being turned into our fantastic new wellness center.
- A current student’s dad joined the alumni and helped refurbish West's bathrooms. They now have a new fan system, missing tile has been replaced and everything is cleaned.
- Formerly shabby exterior areas such as the right entrance door and hall have been repainted. Good storm water damage has been restored.
- Structural reinforcements were added to areas under the ground floor.
- A volunteer who is a genuine craftsman spent nearly a week restoring the third floor’s badly damaged sunburst window—replacing broken glass and repairing the carpentry. This is one example of “luxury” improvements that the College could not easily afford at this point in our rebuilding if College staff or contractors had to do it.
- The Louis Filler memorial bench that faces the Olive Kettering Library was completely rebuilt using gorgeous ash wood from campus trees that were killed by the invasive emerald ash borer.
- And last, but far from least, volunteers we fed scrumptious breakfasts, lunches, cocktail hours and dinners in the Coretta Scott King Center by their fellow volunteer cooks.
In addition to all the volunteers were able to accomplish for the College, they also had guest speakers at lunch who included Assistant Prof. of Philosophy, Lewis Cassity, WSYO general manager, Neenah Ellis, and they participated in a guided discussion on their opinions and perspectives of Antioch. Also, on Thursday of that week they were wined and dined at the Miami Valley Alumni Chapter Div Dinner in the South Gym of the Wellness Center.
In the four years since the College reopened, alumni volunteers have completely refurbished the amphitheater, installed a state-of-the art, new resilient dance floor (also from recycled Curl gym flooring), cleaned and repainted the Foundry Theatre’s performance spaces, and made many other functional and cosmetic improvements on campus. Antioch’s history of volunteer work projects goes back to at least [date] and the College greatly appreciates it.
In attendance at the March work week were: Diane Fishbein ʼ62, Joe Foley ʼ64, Roger Huff ʼ69, Jim Hunter ʼ82, Evelyn LaMers ʼ69, Tom LaMers ʼ68, Louise Meller ʼ67, Beth Richards ʼ04, Marc Snyder ʼ94, Jim Spangler ʼ74, James Taft ʼ68, Megan Trolander, Tod Tyslan ʼ96, David Vincent ʼ65, Helen Welford ʼ69, Dee Wernette ʼ66, David Williams, Gary Houseknecht ʼ66,
If you would like to attend the June Volunteer Work Week (June 15–18), please register here.
—Gary W. Houseknecht ʼ66