Monday, January 7, 2013

Time Capsule

LCC president Mary Spilde adds an item to the time capsule (photos by me)

I joined dozens of others—LCC staff, construction workers, and members of the design team— this past Friday on a gloriously sunny winter afternoon in Eugene to mark the completion of the Academic building at the Lane Community College Downtown Campus. We buried a commemorative time capsule, which will remain buried and sealed until 2064 on the occasion of the college’s 100th anniversary serving Lane County residents.

Like the topping out ceremony that took place last March, the tradition of placing a historic cache of goods or information has a long history, dating back to ancient times. The practice is most often intended as a method of communication with whoever ultimately opens it many years down the road. Some critics argue time capsules do not provide much useful historical information as they are typically filled with "useless junk", new and pristine in condition, which tells little about the people of the time. This is in many ways true for the Downtown Campus time capsule; however, this hardly diminishes the custom and its value to those who assembled the collection of items in the container and the future generation who ultimately open it on the appointed date.

Notwithstanding its dubious archaeological value, I personally think placing a time capsule is great fun. Unless medical science advances significantly, I don’t stand a good chance of being around to see it opened fifty-one years from now (when I would be 104). I’ll miss the opportunity to see everyone’s reaction when it is opened. Will the Twinkies still be edible?

The contents of the time capsule include a box of Twinkies and a "Ty" mascot bobblehead.

The Downtown Campus' big Grand Opening celebration will take place in March, so Friday's time capsule ceremony wasn't intended to the the shiny new facility's official coming-out party. Nonetheless, the Academic building will be open for business this week as it hosts its first classes of the winter quarter. I'm looking forward to seeing how it performs in all respects, particularly from an energy-savings point of view, and whether it meets its goal of achieving a LEED Platinum rating. More on that to come in a future post. 

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