KENYON COLLEGE MIDDLE PATH
Gambier, Oh (2019)
Middle Path has served as the functional and symbolic structure for the Kenyon College campus for over 150 years. At 3,600 feet in length over three distinct sections, it traces the north/south ridgeline of College Hill, and concludes the ascent from the Kokosing River Valley below.

Middle Path was built with a local river stone that was cherished for its color and texture. In fair weather, the path surface shifted and crunched pleasingly underfoot. In foul weather, Middle Path harbored muddy spots, puddles or ice depending on the season, and no longer met the campus accessibility goals. In the 2012 master plan for Kenyon College, MVVA recommended renovating Middle Path with decomposed granite pavement to address the accessibility issue while preserving the pathway feel and appearance that was cherished by the college community.

Together with the bordering allee of trees along the path and updates to the site furnishings, the new granite surface unifies the three distinct Middle Path sections into a cohesive whole. The project was constructed in phases over three years to minimize disruption during the academic year. Existing sugar maple trees bordering the path were carefully preserved. For segments of Middle Path where trees were struggling, the planting soil was rehabilitated and a new canopy of mixed oak species was planted. MVVA designed a Middle Path bench made with rot resistant black locust wood, and specified new path lighting on taller poles to reduce nighttime glare.
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