Last month, Keene State College announced $16 million are going to be invested in a variety of different projects and initiatives to better the student experience and the campus.

These investments included $6.8 million allocated to student success initiatives, $1 million for Redfern renovations, and $3.5 million for demolition of Monadnock and Randall Hall, as well as the abatement of Blake House.

After hearing the announced investments and their price tags, The Equinox is a bit confused as to how they would specifically serve campus and the student body, as well as if they are being allocated to the right areas. The largest area of concern for The Equinox was the $4.2 million allocated for “athletic enhancements and growth,” which aims to increase student-athlete enrollment and retention through the addition of a new varsity weight room and improving existing facilities. The Equinox is unsure if this investment in athletics should be prioritized above other possible campus improvements.

Obviously, it would be nice for the student athletes to have their own weight room, as there are definitely some conflicts with other students that want to use the Spaulding Gym weight room but can’t because of the entire teams that do lifting together.

Frankly, there is a worried tone from The Equinox about this large sum of money going toward student-athlete facilities and enrollment. It seems the college wants to increase student athlete populations on campus, which would be great if it didn’t simultaneously show favoritism that group of students when other areas of campus are in need of improvement.

The Equinox is seeing a number of academic programs that are struggling to keep and/or replace the faculty needed to deliver courses, and programs are slowly dying as a result. We think there could be some money put towards the academics of KSC that benefits every single student population, not just athletes.

On a different note, The Equinox is thrilled to see so much money going towards renovations of classroom buildings and dorm buildings.

Some of the older residence halls are pretty run down, and just last academic year it was confirmed that Pondside 3 and Butler Hall had mold issues that had to be handled. Hopefully, the rest of the older dorm buildings, like Carle Hall and Holloway Hall, can get the revamp they deserve.

There are also some classroom buildings across campus that are in pretty rough shape and need extra love and elbow grease, so we are excited to see them getting a good face lift.

It’s nice to see the Redfern Arts Center — major creative epicenter of campus — get the opportunity to improve its accessibility so every student of all abilities can enjoy the art music, and theatrical production that goes on in the Redfern.

Turning attention to the $0.5 million Justice, Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) investments, The Equinox sees them as vaguely explained.

Per its explanation, the JEDI investments are going to go towards training and initiatives that would better support JEDI initiatives.

Compared to other investments, The Equinox believes things like JEDI are fairly intangible, and we find it hard to fully support the half million dollar investment towards it if there can’t be a defined, detailed answer for what it actually is. There are simply a lot of vague descriptions coming from this portion of the investments and we are left with questions as to what all the money is going towards.

The last investment being made is $3.5 million going towards the demolition of Randall Hall and Monadnock Hall and the abatement of Blake House.

In the fall of 2021, The Equinox shared with its readers that there was hazardous material that was present in the out-of-commission residence halls that were, at the time, being used as a COVID-19 quarantine space.

Now, they’re being knocked down for good and the space will be Antioch University property. The Equinox sees this process as a fairly necessary process since both former residence halls are, at this point, an eyesore, but we just hope that with it not being a part of KSC anymore that we aren’t going to be losing money. It would be a better outcome if the college had some return on investment. As a whole, the investments seem to have varying levels of importance and necessity, some more important and necessary than others.

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