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March 8, 1999 - March 21, 1999
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Concrete Curves


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By Nino Padova
Guardsman Staff Writer
Published Mar. 8, 1999


Spring semester at City College is normally a time to tune up the old umbrella and raincoat and prepare for the elements. Those leisure strolls across campus mutate into mad puddle-avoiding dashes from class to class. The North and South Reservoirs (better known as the parking lots) last year at this time resembled a set from the movie Waterworld. Windshield wipers bobbed back and forth in unison like bathing caps on a synchronized swimming team. Californians were plagued for months with images of mudslides, flash floods, and houses falling into the ocean. Well that was yesterday. Welcome to 1999 where so far the only things being dumped from the sky are big buckets of sunshine. Knock on a No. 2 pencil.

With the recent balmy weather there has been a mass migration outdoors by City College students looking to enjoy those midday snacks and uncontrollable cravings for nicotine. One of City College’s nicest getaways for such festivities is the sculpture deck located in front of Batmale Hall.

This hidden treasure was cut by Sculptor Jaques Overhoff in 1979 and consists of four vertical cast concrete panels with narrow entrances on each side. A ramp makes the deck wheelchair accessible. Once inside, students can choose from the many free-form curved seats, each of which is equipped with blue and red tile decor. For those that prefer that Craftmatic recliner effect, the panels themselves make for a comfortable beach-chair lean.

From the exterior the deck guises as a link from a space station or a cold war missile silo. There’s definitely something that implicates mass technological performance. In contrast, just a stones throw away, lies a formation of planted trees shielding the deck from the noise and commotion of Cloud Circle. Even though it is 20 years old, the interior looks strikingly sleek and modern, almost futuristic. Upon entering the deck one is overcome with an instant feeling of tranquility. Because of its compartmentalized structure, students are allowed a generous degree of isolation. This becomes extremely beneficial for those of us with eating habits that lean to the left side on the evolution chart.

As for those stray Frito chips and Pop Tart crumbs that regularly make their way onto the cement floor, worry not, the sculpture deck comes with its very own built in food disposal service in the form of little black birds. These winged workers who reside in the adjacent trees perform their duties in an earnest and orderly fashion. Under union contract, they are not obligated to handle bubble gum or those plastic cap seals on milk and juice containers. It has also been said their high-pitched chirping makes for good steady background music, which is optimal for meditation.

Singles take note: most students who frequent the sculpture deck come alone (and want to stay that way). Rarely is there any display of annoying chatter or senseless bickering. If such behavior were to transpire it would be quelled by the darting glare of a fellow student. There’s an unwritten code of silence deck-goers adhere to: tomfoolery is not tolerated in any shape or form. The students don’t put up with it, and the birds sure-as-worms don’t put up with it.

So what brings people to Overhoff’s sculpture deck during this uncharacteristically arid spring semester? Almost all deck-goers agree the cement platforms cut off the sometimes furious gusts of wind known to sweep through campus. Hung Lam a 19-year-old animation major says, "I usually have lunch here. This place is cool because it blocks out the wind and lets you enjoy the sunshine." Lam added that the deck, "has something spiritual about it."

Ron Reitz a 32-year-old business major admits, "When class gets out early I come here to get some sleep and work on my tan." Regardless of the motives, as long as Mother Nature stays in this good mood for the rest of the semester, students will be able to enjoy the warmth, serenity and comfort the sculpture deck has to offer. Remember, be clean, be courteous and be thankful ... chirp, chirp, chirp.

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Copyright 1996-1998 City College of San Francisco. All rights reserved.  Articles by Guardsman staff writers are copyright by The Guardsman, a student-run publication of the Journalism Department of City College of San Francisco.  Material supplied by the College Press Service is used under license from that organization.  Material reprinted from City Currents is used with the permission of the Public Information Office, City College of San Francisco.