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Dislodged

 

Inside the cramped bathroom off the Chancellor’s suite loose tiles are falling off the wall, crashing into a pile on the floor. The culprit: water and frost that has been seeping in through the cracks in the stone.

The President’s Lodge is a grand three story (four if you count the basement) house on the edge of the King’s College campus. The once beautiful home is now closed due to cracks in the foundation.

Walking from room to room, the cracks get longer and the piles of destroyed wall and ceiling get bigger. “It is sad,” said Pamela Hazel, assistant to the president, Dr. Anne Leavitt, about the disrepair.

Water has come in the chimney and faulty areas in the roof and gutter. “Within a matter of days we are going to start repairs on the gutters because the water is still coming into the building,” said Gerry Smith, King’s bursar.

The Lodge not only houses the president of the university—it’s a community space. The first floor is often used for events, including sherry with the President after Matriculation, the Contemporary Studies Programme party and the Haliburton Society’s annual dinner.

While Matriculation was able to hold their sherry hour in the Lodge at the beginning of the academic year, the Haliburton Society was recently forced to find a new venue. When Hilary Ilkay, president of the Haliburton Society, approached Leavitt about attending the event, she was told the Lodge would not be ready.

The Haliburton Society cooks a dinner for a selected Canadian author, the King’s president and a few faculty members. Afterwards, the author holds a question and answer session for the King’s community.

“We heard that the Lodge would be unavailable before the winter break, so we immediately sought out a new location—the Senior Common Room,” said Ilkay. “There’s a long table there, so it is suitable for dining purposes.” The Haliburton Society will likely prepare the meal in the Alex Hall kitchen and the reading will take place in the Senior Common Room along with the meal. “It’s not ideal, but we’ll make it work!”

The Lodge was designed by Andrew Cobb in 1928 and opened its doors in 1930. Since then the heating and electrical system have not been updated. Smith commented on the fuse box, saying that it was far too old for a house this big. Leavitt said that the Lodge “isn’t an entirely safe place to be until the electrical is replaced.”

In the President’s Lodge Maintenance Report, the electrical wiring and lighting section shows that the Lodge needs a complete overhaul. “In comparison to today’s standards, there is a limited amount of outlets available in the rooms, much less than what should be in place to meet current code requirements,” the report reads.

In order for all the renovations to take place, the school needs a lot of money. There will be fundraising, since King’s ran out of money just before the Lodge repairs were scheduled. Smith said repairs on other buildings have drained the fund.

The advancement office is currently in charge of the major gifts campaign, which includes raising money for the Lodge, the Pit and the Wardroom. “There’s always a possibility that some donor might come and cut us a big check and we could just get the work done, but … fundraising money takes time. When it comes to repairs as funds becomes available, that takes time too,” said Leavitt.

Leavitt, who currently lives in Bishop’s Landing, a waterfront condo complex, was informed about the renovations before coming to the school. While she does not care where she lives, she is sad to not live on campus. “It would be nice to be in the Lodge; it would be nice to see more of students.”
Leavitt has the same problems as some day students. “King’s is a highly residential campus with lots going on, so when I come here in the evenings, and I do come back for some events, lots is going on. If you’re not on campus, it’s not as easy to participate in all of that.”

To completely fix everything in the Lodge, the maintenance report estimates the cost at $475,000. With an estimate this high and the number of repairs needed, the Lodge is not likely to reopen until September 2013.

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