10 Things You May Not Have Known About the Harper Center

Jack Parchman ‘15

Jack Parchman ‘15

Do you ever stop to consider the uniqueness of the Harper Center?  Think about all the natural light in the Winter Garden, or appreciate the nooks and crannies that make this building special?  I know I do. As the chair for the GBC Facilities & Green Committee, I realize I am privy to some interesting bits of information about Harper, which may not be widely known, and I figured that you might all like to know them too. So here they are - 10 “fun facts” you may not have known about our beautiful building:

Bananas and Clam Chowder in the Summer Garden

Bananas and Clam Chowder in the Summer Garden

  1. Ever get lost when looking at the maps for class or study rooms?  Fear not, the map has a compass rose, and the RED WALL faces North. Facing this wall, C01-05 is on your right, C06-10 is on your left, and the locker room is behind you. Hopefully this ends (or shortens) any future bewildering searches for C73.

  2. The light in the Winter Garden comes to you filtered through window panes that were hand-made in Italy. Perhaps that thought will help you pretend you’re feeling a temperate Mediterranean climate when the next polar vortex rolls around.

  3. All clocks in the front of the classrooms are tied to a master clock which automatically keeps them on-time. All clocks in the rear of the classrooms are set by hand and checked regularly to ensure they are as close to on time as possible.

  4. Study rooms are better now aren’t they? Yes, all study rooms were fitted with new TVs this summer, and study rooms with only one outlet plate received a second.

  5. Why are the apples green?  Beggars can’t be choosers, and we all like free food.  The apples are endowed by the Haas family, and the specification of green apples is in the endowment.

  6. Speaking of free food, if you show a receipt for a purchase of $6 or more at Kovler, you can get a free frozen yoghurt. This comes in handy particularly around the 3 pm break...

  7. What do the neon signs in foreign languages mean?  Ask one of your classmates from that country… JK, the signs say, “Foreigners Everywhere.”

  8. What is that earthy smell coming from the rock garden area of the Summer Garden?   Glad you asked. The landscape architecture is beautifully pulled off by “Atrium” a LEED certified, Illinois located, Women’s Business Enterprise. The distinctive smell comes from Prarie Dropseed, a native grass. Most people think it smells like popcorn!

  9. For the first 3 years of its existence, our building was called the Hyde Park Center.  Charles M. Harper’s donation of an undisclosed amount in 2007 gave our building its current name.

  10. Think that something bad happened to one of the concrete squares in the summer garden?  Nope, that’s called art.  The title of the piece is “Bananas and Clam Chowder”.  It was made with cement, and...you guessed it, bananas and clam chowder. It’s one of many pieces in Harper’s astounding art collection.

Jack Parchman is the chairman of the GBC Facilities and Green Committee.  The committee maintains close ties with the Harper Center Facilities team to ensure an open flow of information and improve campus life.