By Colleen Murphy
The construction of Campus Town promises new buildings and amenities for the future, but it has also made it possible to bring a piece of the College’s history closer to the center of campus.
Students walking through Alumni Grove have noticed the two piers that have been erected outside the library, but those are not new — in fact, they are almost 70 years old.
Originally located at the former entrance for Trenton State College on Pennington Road, which was a little farther south from the current entrance, the two piers were gifts from alumni in honor of students and alumni who served in the two World Wars.
According to David Muha, vice president for Communications, Marketing and Brand Management, the entrance where the piers once stood was called Memorial Entrance in honor of the 14 College students and alumni who lost their lives fighting in WWI and WWII.
The piers were located at the College’s Memorial Entrance for decades, even after the main entrance of the College was altered around 1965. However, according to Muha, the piers stood where the Campus Town construction site would be, necessitating their removal.
According to Muha, the moving process of the piers was a part of a larger campus sidewalk renovation project, so the exact cost of moving the piers is unclear.
The College had several ideas as to where to relocate them, according to Muha. Putting the piers in Lions Stadium was one option, but the foundations and pathways would not accommodate them. Designing them into the site of Campus Town was another possibility. Ultimately, because the piers have a strong alumni back story, “the College felt it would be more appropriate to relocate them to somewhere on the existing campus,” Muha said.
Sophomore psychology major Caitlin Nehila thinks that the location chosen for the piers was the right choice.
“I think (Alumni Grove) was a good spot because it’s right in front of the library, and because students walk by all the time,” Nehila said. “It’s a common place in the school where everybody can see it.”
At first, like many students, Nehila thought the pillars that used to stand there were knocked down and that they were rebuilding the exact same thing for the sake of decoration. However, now that Nehila knows the history behind the piers, she thinks they are welcome additions to campus and will serve as meaningful reminders to students and faculty about the College’s past.
By bringing a part of the College’s past onto the center of campus, Muha hopes it will remind students and faculty of the College’s history and how it has become the institution it is today.
“TCNJ will be 160 years old next year,” Muha said. “By preserving our history, we recognize the contributions of generations of alumni who helped to build the College and make it what it is today.”