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Thursday, Jun 20, 2024

Letters to the Editor Old Science Center Nostalgia

Author: Jonathan Maziarz

Old Science Center Nostalgia

To the Editor:

It was with great sadness that I read of the imminent demise of the Old Science Center at Middlebury College. Nicha Rakpanichmanee's article, "Science Center's Complex Past Deconstructed Along With Building" in the Oct. 3 Campus illuminated the unique recycled fate the building faced but also contained some comments from Glenn Andres, professor of history of art and architecture, that inspired me to write. As a biology major, the Science Center was the building in which I spent the majority of my academic hours on campus. Sure, it was cold in the winter, hot in the summer and seriously overcrowded while I was a student. Sure, the labs were out of date, the equipment was failing and the vending machines were several floors below the library.
But the Science Center was my home at Middlebury. I resided in Allen, Davis, Painter and off campus during my four years, but the Science Center was my one constant each year. So, despite learning the Science Center was "a much hated building," it will always have a special place in my heart. I didn't hate the building and I doubt any of my peers hated the building. Some of my professors might have hated the building, but I'll bet most of them will miss it as well.
Yes, the building was "architecturally challenged" and no, it did not really fit in its neighborhood, but it sounds like the new library that's destined to replace it will be an even more imposing bulk and wreak even greater change in the area.
From the first time I struggled to open the pressurized doors to the structure in fall 1989, to the last time I heard the door slam behind me when I visited in 1998 for a reunion, I will always remember the Science Center as charming, quirky and a fun place to study.
The view from the top floor of the Science Center library was without parallel and always presented a perfect distraction from work.The library itself, affectionately referred to as "the submarine" because of its metal stairs, had plenty of nooks for quiet study. I have yet to set foot in the Science Center's replacement, Bicentennial Hall, but in pictures it appears to be completely devoid of charm. Eyewitness reports from faculty (who shall remain anonymous) confirm the building is a technical wonder, but assert that it lacks a soul. Perhaps it will gain one with time. So while I must bid the Old Science Center adieu, the building will live on in my heart and in the hearts of many others. I don't know when I'll be in Middlebury next, but it simply won't be the same place for me.

— Jonathan Maziarz '93