Offices go residential

Molly Dean

Several Transy faculty members and staff have found new homes on campus.

The “Creative” and “C.A.R.E.” houses are campus-owned buildings that have the potential to engage students in ways that institutional office spaces may not.

“The Creative House”, located at 362 N.Upper Street adjacent to the Mitchell Fine Arts parking lot, is currently being used as office space for four professors:  Instructor in Writing, Rhetoric and Communication Martha Gehringer, Professor of English and Writer in Residence Maurice Manning, Kenan Visiting Writer Richard Taylor, and Lucille C. Little Professor of Theater Tim Soulis.

Interim Vice President & Dean of the College, Kathleen Jagger explained the decision as a temporary solution to simply running out of space for faculty offices. Among the faculty willing to move were three poets and a playwright and thus, organically, the creative title was fitting.

“One of the nice things about Transy is that the faculty doesn’t exist in individual silos in different projects,” said Jagger.  She views the collaborative nature “as part of the spirit of encouraging student learning in all dimensions.”

The new inhabitants of the Creative House are settling into their new space.  Though she has literally hopped around the Haupt building – this is her tenth move in 30 years at Transy, Gehringer is enjoying the change of scenery.

“It does feel really domestic,” said Gehringer, of the three-bedroom brick house on the corner.

Soulis described The Creative House as a “unique space with great colleagues literally a door away.”

“Already we’ve had the opportunity to laugh and commune, to praise our students, and to be glad to be together,” said Manning, of the first month in the shared space.   “I can’t imagine a better setting for work and good company.”

The Center for Community, Awareness, Responsibility and Engagement or “C.A.R.E. House”, similarly arose from a need for space.  It is located at 439 W. Fourth Street, across from the tennis courts.  Intentionally situated within the C.A.R.E. House are Coordinator of Community Service and Civic Engagement Karen Anderson, Associate Dean for Religious Life Wilson Dickinson and AmeriCorps Vista Troy Heffron.

“The offices that are placed there were chosen very specifically to help be a connection with the university to the Lexington community,” said Bob Brown, associate dean of student affairs.  “The house will serve as a hub for community service activity, engagement with the community, awareness of what is going on in the community and how we can responsibly work with groups outside of the university.”

For Anderson, a major benefit of the C.A.R.E. house is the extra space.  In addition to three offices, the house has two rooms for small group meetings and convenient storage for service organizations like the PB & J Club.

“I hope to see it become a vibrant, active center,” said Anderson.  Her aim is to have a “front-porch feel” in which students utilize the space and feel comfortable.

“The house is a symbolic step of the university to extend our existing campus down Fourth Street as an early connection to the land we purchased and future developments down there,” said Brown.  “As campus changes, the Fourth Street corridor will take on greater significance as we morph into a larger and more vibrant liberal arts university.”

Students are encouraged to freely visit and utilize the C.A.R.E. and Creative houses as the new campus spaces evolve and grow.


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