July 21, 2009

Garner's a goner

garner apartments
Oh, I'd had my fingers crossed on this one. Stuff like this just breaks my heart. Excerpts from The Daily Sentinel ("SFA's Garner Apartments' days are numbered," by Trent Jacobs), dated July 20, 2009:

It's official — the 14-story Garner Apartments at SFA will be demolished sometime in the next 12 months to make room for a new freshman residence hall and parking garage.

The Garner tower has been the tallest building in Nacogdoches since it was built in 1969. But late next month, when students enrolled in the fall semester move in, they will be the last to do so. The building will close for good in December when the semester ends.

With the demise of the Garner Apartments, which have become an iconic image of SFA's skyline, a long time tradition will also be lost: the lighting of the tower's roof to purple after an athletic victory.

purple-topped garner apts. from intramural fields
That last was the idea of Dr. Ralph W. Steen, the University's third president, from 1958-1976. We're talking about some fairly large roots being pulled up here, a lot of tradition being discarded. So much has changed about the SFA campus since I was a student there, from '88 to '91. I increasingly feel less and less like it is "my" campus, and I don't like it! I suppose the freshmen who move in to the new dorms around 2010 or 2011 won't have any idea what Garner was....I guess that now, the other structures which were built around the same time as Garner (Steen Hall and East College Cafeteria) are probably also doomed. I understand the need to modernize, but it's hard to watch these landmarks come down. So it goes.

east college cafeteria
Garner, as seen behind the East College Cafeteria

12 comments:

Retro Hound said...

That's pretty rotten, it's such a cool building. I doubt anything half as interesting will go up in it's place.

Chris said...

It's always reminded me of the old Sands Hotel in Las Vegas.

Blognor Regis said...

Cool building. I reckon it looks like the Sugar Shaker in Townsville, QLD.

Nacalina said...

SFA's been putting the ax to lots of quaint older structures lately in an attempt to give the college a more contemporary feel. I hated seeing the Birdwell building go a couple years ago, but Garner...come on, that one's almost iconic. I'd hoped there'd be an public outcry against demolishing it but so far I haven't heard a peep except from you. Buildings like this give the campus an established feel...and unless they're not structurally sound they really should be preserved because once they're gone, they're gone forever. What a shame :(

Chris said...

Seeing the Birdwell building come down just killed me. And for what?? It must have been more expensive to maintain than demolish. I still haven't figured that out. It was such a landmark, sitting there on the corner of College and North.

Anonymous said...

That's pretty depressing. I'm attending SFA next fall and was so looking forward to Garner. It's like an SFA icon and I love the older look and feel of the campus.

Anonymous said...

Sorry guys, but I have to say that it is kind of an ugly building and looks like a terrible place to live...

Chels said...

I realise this article was written a long time ago, but I only ran across it just now so excuse the tardiness. My Garner roomate from this previous semester just messaged me to tell me that apparently the building will be torn down at 10 AM. When I was assigned to this dorm against my meaningless freshman requests, I was less than enthused. I couldn't have possibly known how much this ugly building would come to mean to me. It was the place I took comfort in during a time of so much change. It's where I met and lived with one of my now closest friends at SFA. I'm now in Kerr and trying to have the best attitude I can about my new dorm, but failing often. I can't even explain this sense of loss. It may have been ugly, out-dated, and somewhat "dilapidated," but it was home.

Chris said...

Thank you for your thoughts and info, Chels! I appreciate it. I'm tempted to go up to watch, but it might just make me sick. It is history, though, I suppose.

Chels said...

They worked for hours and failed tremendously. At one point the pulley stopped working and the wrecking ball was dropped from the height of the 14th floor. Maybe a total of 2 apartments were demolished, but they'll probably be spending all of next week trying to finish. Garner won't be going down without a fight =)

Chris said...

Chels - I was parked at Pecan Park, watching from about 10:45 to 11:15. I first drove past the crowd watching directly across the street from Garner. I saw a woman crying, long before it even began. They started around eleven with that wrecking ball. I watched it swing at hit it around five or six times, as well as lifting the ball and dropping it a couple of times. I drove back at about 4, figuring it would be leveled, but no. I guess it'll be a slow death. Somehow, I was expecting a dramatic implosion, weren't you?

Chels said...

I was expecting something a lot more dramatic and quicker. Me and my old roomate were parked right next to the fence since 10 AM and left a little after noon. I guess it rly will be a long process. And it's good to hear that I wasn't the only one crying lol