Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Ogg 1, UW 0

So I managed to confirm a rumor I heard over the weekend at work today, and even though I didn't get a LOT of info out of the sources, the nature of the story still brought a smile to my face.

Ogg Hall, a decades-old Madison institution in what-they-haven't-torn-that-thing-down-yet-ingness, is going to be an unfortunate feature in Madison's skyline for at least another handful of months. Linda Barth from the Wisconsin Department of Administration confirmed for me today that they've dismissed the contractor who was doing the work because of issues with safety and the quality and pace of the work. Or, to quote the entire release she sent me:

"The contract with Dore and Associates, the company hired for the Ogg Hall de-construction project, has been terminated for time, quality and safety issues. We recently hired another company to complete the work on the west tower and we will re-bid the east tower work."

Herman Melville Ms. Barth is not.

Apparently, and this is just hearsay, but there may have been a few issues with large pieces of debris falling and doing property damage (Read: Huge freaking chunks of concrete crushing something). Again, just hearsay here, but I'll have Linda Barth on the phone tomorrow, and hopefully she'll be able to answer some of my damn questions.

At any rate, I have two gut reactions to this news. One is simple relief. I pledged some time ago (see above link to Portage Daily Register column) to make off with a souvenier from my Beloved Ghetto, but a particularly harsh winter and mounting professional responsibilities have thus far kept me from my goals. With the deconstruction stoppage, this means I'll have another couple of months to penetrate the security system (Read: Chain link fence and night lighting) they've erected around the first home I ever had in Madison.

Even though my old room on the sixth floor was dismantled by the first contractor, the East Tower still stands almost in its entirety. If I remember correctly, one substitutes pretty well for the other (Read: it's impossible to tell East from West tower from within the old firetrap's halls when you're loaded), so a spring evening's romp through Ogg should still be a trip down hazy memories lane.

But a part of me swells with pride to hear the job was too much for the pros at Dork and Associates to handle. After all, sure it's an eyesore, but it's my damn eyesore! The longer that fortress of concrete and asbestos stands, the longer we can stave off the day when an incoming freshman, ignorant of the truth, proclaims him or herself a resident of the REAL Ogg. It may be an inevitable travesty, but as long as the new dorm that bears her name lies in her shadow, there will only be one Ogg.

Besides, as long as one of Ogg's towers is standing, there's always the off chance it will tip over on its own and take the playground they're building where University Square used to sit with it.

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