Tuesday, April 23rd, 2024
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Who Makes Millersville Special

Kenneth Brent

This issue of the Exchange features Kenneth Brent, architect in the capital construction contracting & design department. Brent has helped shape Millersville’s campus and its buildings for the past 19 years.

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Q: What do you enjoy most about working in the capital construction contracting and design department?

A: I enjoy the variety of projects, ranging from restoration to handicap accessibility improvements.

Q: What made you decide to enter the architecture field?

A: I really didn’t know what to do after high school, so I started in a program called construction technology at Temple University.  After I saw a winter at a construction site I knew I wanted to work indoors.  I enjoyed drawing and I found I could connect with people through design.  That is when I applied to the architecture program at Drexel University.

Q: What do you enjoy to do outside of your career?

A: I enjoy spending time and traveling with my family.  I also enjoy collecting inexpensive and useless things.

Q: Are there any interesting stories or projects you have encountered while working at Millersville?

A: I remember when working on the Lyle Dining Hall project in 1996, the original drawings showed a natural spring under the building, which drained into the sanitary sewer.  Since the University paid for the volume of sewage we disposed of, and we were digging up the sewers for a new dish room anyway, it was a good idea to drain the spring somewhere else.  When we dug up the floor, the earth was dry, we could not find the spring, and so we abandoned the idea and closed the opening.  Later we were digging an elevator pit in the north end of the kitchen and found the spring nowhere near the location shown on the drawings.  The spring now drains into the lake.

Kenneth Brent, architect in the capital construction contracting & design department.

Q: What accomplishment at Millersville are you most proud of?

A: One of my favorite projects was one where I was acting as the project manager instead of the designer.  It was the restoration of the cupola and dormers on the roof of Hash/Bassler.  I enjoyed seeing how the coppersmith carefully and tediously folded and fastened each sheet of copper on the dome of the cupola.  He was the same coppersmith who built the tower on top of Lancaster City Hall.  I am confident that the Hash/Bassler cupola is better built and will last longer than the original, which was 100 years old.

Q: What is the most gratifying aspect of being an architect?

A: The most gratifying aspect of being an architect is seeing the completed work being used as it was intended.

Q: What is the most important thing you have learned while working with your colleagues?

A: Listen to what your colleagues have to say.  People working at Millersville have a wide range of expertise and they can give ideas to improve the way we work and benefit the University as a whole.

Q: If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why?

A: I have traveled to Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Massachusetts and nine other countries.  Italy and the Dominican Republic were very nice, but I can’t really picture myself living there all the time.  I might just stay here.

Q: What is your greatest accomplishment?

A: My greatest accomplishment is raising my children.  My daughter was born two months after I started at working at Millersville; now she is a senior in high school sorting through college acceptance letters.  My son is a responsible young college student, about to make the step into military life.  I am very proud of them.

Q: Have you designed or had a part in designing any of the buildings on campus?

A: Except for some of the houses, I have probably designed some part of every building on this campus. I designed the elevator addition on the front of Dilworth, the Lyle Dining Hall known as the Bistro and Cove, the brick bordered sidewalks on the north side of campus and my own office.  I also provide my opinion on the larger projects that are outsourced to external design professionals.

Q: What do you enjoy most about Millersville?

A: I enjoy the close connection between the University and the Millersville community.  Everywhere I go I see people I know.

Q: What makes you smile?

A: Usually other people smiling.

Q: If you could spend a day with anyone dead or alive who would it be and why?

A: I wish I could spend a day with my father.  He passed away when I was away in school.  He was an unemployed aerospace engineer, who had cancer the last years of his life.  I wish he could have seen my graduation.

Q: What is your favorite quote?

A: “Architects are your friend.” This comes from a meeting where people were discussing the work of one of our consultants who said, “Architects are not your friend.”  Everyone looked up, realized that I am an architect and burst out laughing.

Q: What is one piece of advice you would give everyone if you could?

A: Sit back, listen and respect what others have to say.

3 replies on “Kenneth Brent”

I’m retired now from MU, but we once discussed your
child’s choices of courses for computer science.
So I was not surprised when you mention “your
greatest accomplishment being your children”. You
were such a caring person, your love for your child
was so evident during that conversation.

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