Multiple departments struggling for space in Kleist as programs grow

The Kleist Center for Art and Drama has seen a lot of growing pains and has been a major point of discussion for departments in the building, as well as administration, and has sparked questions on how the situation of the space issues in Kleist should be handled.

Kleist sits on Baldwin Wallace’s North campus and is one of the most visited buildings on campus since most first-year students are required to go to Kleist for orientation events. Currently, Kleist houses three departments including Theatre and Dance, Communications Arts and Sciences, and Studio Art.

Since Kleist’s opening in 1971, the programs inside of Kleist have grown, split off and grown some more, making space one of the top issues in the building.

Back when Kleist was first opened, BW had a very small theatre program that was a part of the Department of Speech Communications and Theatre. Since then, theatre spilt off from communications, acquired dance and became its own department.

The Theatre and Dance department has become one of the fastest growing departments at Baldwin Wallace, said Professor Charlotte Yetman, assessment and costume design coordinator and professor of theatre.

Results from their latest program review, an assessment of a program and department happens every 5-7 years, showed that it has seen a 61% program growth over the past five years while maintaining an 87% retention rate, said Yetman.

For the Department of Communications Arts and Sciences, they are housed in parts of three separate buildings on campus: such as having the TV studio in MACS and the newspaper and radio station in the union, as well as parts of the department in Kleist.

“Many communication students and faculty do not see each other and that has contributed to a lack of collaboration among students to occur,” said Dr. Molly Swiger, chair of the department of Communication Arts and Sciences.“Some of our faculty don’t see each other unless we have a meeting.”

“Studio Art is seeing the same issues with space,” said Professor Darlene Michitsch, chair of the department of Art and Art History and associate professor of art history.

As the program continues to grow, Richard Cihlar office manager for the department of art and art history, said Studio Art hopes to have more room to do bigger projects.

“We need room for our… sculpture room or a room to have a wood shop,” Cihlar.

The growing programs have contributed to the issue of lack of space and has led the departments to urge administration for more space for their programs.

Dr. Guy Farish, associate provost, is in charge of solving this space issues going on all over campus and said that it is difficult finding spaces throughout campus.

“Decisions with allocating new space or expanding Kleist can be complex,” said Farish.

While Farish has no definite plans for the Kleist space issue at the moment, his hope is to bring the department of Communication Arts and Sciences together in one place outside of Kleist.

However, Farish said these types of decisions take time and a few things would have to happen in order for this to occur, but he is looking at maybe having this change occur sometime in the next year.

Dr. Susan Oldrieve, associate dean of the School of Humanities and professor of English, said Farish’s job is like a chain of dominoes; he sees the big picture and decides how BW should allocate its space to different departments.

“He is pretty confident that he is going to solve the Kleist issue,” said Oldrieve. “I have faith that he will find a solution.”