Kenyon Mythbusters: Peirce’s Doors

Peirce doors (pre-renovation) via

In this relatively new feature, we will venture where no Kenyon kids have gone before. Anna Coppelman ‘16 and Jack Quigley ‘16, your adventurous and courageous hosts, will dive into the deepest depths of conspiracy, mystery and secrecy.

This week: The doors to the main entrance of Peirce.

It’s no myth that the doors to Peirce have had their fair share of problems over the past few weeks, but nobody seems to know exactly why or when they will be fixed. We’re here to sort out the various reasons as to why the doors no longer open automatically, and why maintenance hasn’t gotten around to fixing them yet. Jack and Anna to the rescue. 

We reached out to Gregory Widener, the Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds. He provided some insight to the problem: “These door opening devices are not made to work at a 100% duty cycle and are only intended to be used by those that need to use them…Abuse and misuse are the two main reasons why the door operators have quit working.”

Widener also told us about fixing the problem. He said that maintenance fixes problems with the door when they arise, as much as time allows. On any given day, the maintenance staff repairs the door up to five times. For the time being, the maintenance electricians fix the door when it breaks, but Widener cautions, “to continue to repair, repair, repair, without any end in sight borders on Albert Einstein’s reported definition of insanity.”

Sidenote: Widener also brought up a related, also-important issue: When the doors are opened automatically, they open slowly and stay open for some time. This causes the atrium of Peirce to get much colder in the winter and much hotter in the summer, counteracting the heating/air-conditioning system. “the building cannot recuperate quick enough, therefore, more energy and cost to operate the building’s heating or cooling system as well.”

Widener also went as far as to explain how opening the door on your own is sustainable in multiple ways:

“By not using the push button to conveniently enter the building, you are:

  • Conserving energy by not heating the atrium in the winter or loosing building cooling in the summer.  The door stays open longer when the push button is utilized (opportunity to be sustainable)

  • Permitting the door push button to work when it needs to for those that need it (opportunity to be compassionate and courteous)

  • Not creating additional cost for maintenance work on campus by having electricians repair the door operator buttons (opportunity to be sustainable)

  • Become less dependent on mechanisms and convenience tools to perform tasks for you (opportunity to be self sustainable)”

So Kenyonites, we feel like we can shut the book on this one. Let’s take Widener’s advice, and not abuse the automatic door, because when it breaks, those who really need it have an even harder time with the door than your average Kenyon student will. And who doesn’t love sustainability?

(If you have a myth you want us to bust, let us know in the comments!)

8 responses

  1. Seriously people. Unless you are in a wheelchair / on crutches / armless, open the door your damn selves. It’s not hard.

  2. Pingback: Kenyon Mythbusters (sorta): The Ascension Steps | The Thrill

  3. Pingback: Kenyon Mythbusters: AVI Levels | The Thrill

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