I've got a bit of a pet project to talk about here.As I've talked about here, I am an alumnus of Wabash College, and I don't think I could have enjoyed it more. I spent my day off in Crawfordsville and visited with a few people at Wabash. I didn't get to see the one guy I actually went to visit, because he doesn't come in on Fridays any more. I guess you can do that when you're retiring. And, just because I like upsetting, I stopped by maybe my favorite building on campus, the Armory.
A bit of history. Built in 1917, this was the long time athletics building on campus. It has housed a number of other functions through its history, but that's been the main function through its life. It was the entrance to Chadwick, housed the weight room and other athletic offices. But, that was well before I was there, so enough about that.
*Technically, this was the Board of Publications office. But, the Bachelor was pretty easily the most important of these in my view, and definitely used it the most. I always thought BOP should have stood for "Bachelor and Other Publications."
It seems, though not everybody shares my love for this building. In the time it has been replaced by the Allen center, it seems it has struggled to find a purpose. I won't talk bad about the Allen Center. I'm sure the upgrade was badly needed, and it is a hell of a building.
Oh, we keep something else important here, too. You may notice the sign that has a few important numbers on it. Namely "47" and "0."
There seems to be a deeper problem, though. The Armory has never really been embraced by students the way it ought to be. The computer labs are used fairly often, so those can stay put. I would assuming the Writing Center on the first floor is used as well as it's always been. But these upstairs rooms have been underutilized despite best efforts by the school. It seems it's time for a change in direction.
I had a whole section written here about opening an overnight diner in the Armory, which I don't think is a terrible idea. But I don't think Bon Appetite would allow an outside dining option on campus, even open during hours they are not. Also had an idea for a campus bar, but that's not going to happen soon thanks to some unfortunate incidents lately involving alcohol and underage drinkers. None of which are the school's fault, but don't ask Fox News about that. Still, there needs to be something more than just (maintained) games to draw students back into the Armory. Maybe more campus events should be held in the Armory just to make the building feel more "routine." I wouldn't mind seeing the wall knocked out between the lounge and game room to give one big space. But from there, maybe there needs to be some pool tournaments held. Bring in some smaller music acts. I would love to see Acoustic Cafe (assuming that's still around) moved to an expanded Armory lounge/game room. I would love to see some local bands play the Armory. And if the event organizers make sure to bring in some food and drink for these concerts, that would be great. Who wouldn't want to hang out with their buds, play some pool or something, listen to some tunes, etc. Maybe when the wall is knocked out, they could also put in a sound system so people could plug in their iPod when there isn't a band. I guess what I'm asking for is a bar without the drinks. As it stands now, people stay in the houses or dorms to do their drinking and socializing. Which there is certainly a place for that. But it would be great if there were a central place on campus for all students to come together. At the very least, could some alum at least get another set of pool balls and cues back?