A preview of Kemp Hall, Alice Paul’s fraternal twin

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

In the coming months, groundbreaking will begin on Alice Paul’s new twin. It will be named David Kemp Hall. According to Associate Vice President of Facilities, Stuart Hain, the dorm is expected to be complete by early May 2008. With a spring completion, this will ensure that the dorm will be available for incoming freshman and early arrival students. This was a problem with Alice Paul, as a late completion made it unavailable to new students during its first year.

“We are starting three months earlier to try to avoid the winter weather delays that slowed Alice Paul”, Hain said.

The major benefactor for the new dorm is Giles Kemp ’74, a member of the Board of Managers and co-founder of The Home Decorators Collection. In April of last year, Kemp sold Home Decorators, a value-based furniture catalog company to Home Depot, Inc. for an undisclosed sum. Satisfied with his current lifestyle, Kemp wanted to dedicate part of his wealth to make a difference rather than a yacht, second home or other consumer desire. “The sale of my business last year was a catalyst to be able give to the Campaign for Swarthmore in its last year,” Kemp said.

In the fall Gil Kemp made a pledge for $10 million, dedicating a large sum of the donation towards a new dorm. He was given the naming rights to the dorm, which will be named David Kemp Hall, after his grandfather. “I choose to dedicate it to my grandfather, David Kemp, because I’ve always thought it interesting that I followed in his footsteps and became a direct-marketing entrepreneur.Ê I also liked the idea because it was a way of honoring my family as well,” Kemp stated.

David Kemp hall will be a “twin” to Alice Paul, but will have some noticeable differences. According to Hain, Kemp Hall will not have a basement like its neighbor. Further, the floor plan will be different and will lack the tour guide favorite loft rooms. The dorm will feature 50 rooms and 75 beds. As far as the bright red lounge in Alice Paul, Hain says “The lounges will be light filled and colorful although we have not picked an exact color yet.” Kemp admitted to giving no design input, commenting that Alice Paul is “a magnificently designed building.”

Another major difference is price: Kemp is expected to cost just under $11 million, while Alice Paul amounted to $10 million. “That is 30% higher than what we estimated that building would cost when we built Alice Paul. That is a little under what area construction costs increased over the same time period” Hain said.

Compared to his old living quarters, Kemp admitted that the new dorm would be much nicer than where he stayed as a student. “It’s much nicer than Wharton!Ê But I have fond memories of living in Wharton as well as Worth and Palmer,” he exclaimed.

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