Perilous sundial moved inside academic complex

Leighton VanderMooi

After being relocated earlier this year, the Sundial is on the move once more. For the entire semester, Dordt Maintenance fielded complaints from commuters and faculty regarding the Sundial’s hazardous and distracting qualities.

Pamela Smith, head curator of Dordt’s Campus Community Arts Initiative, facilitated the sundial’s first move after multiple student bystanders were injured by campus golf accidents. The Sundial had been a popular spot for the golfers, but the balls that ricocheted off the dial posed as a safety hazard.

“Students were coming into Campus Health with bruises, welts and occasionally a broken nose,” Smith said. “It came to our attention that we needed to remove this threatening presence before someone died.”

In response to the complaints, maintenance relocated the Sundial to a spot behind the science building, hoping to discourage campus golfers. However, there were still consequences.

George Townson, a junior commuter, said the Sundial distracts him as he attempts to tell the time every time he drives by.

“[The Sundial] is in a bush, so when I drive by I have to stretch my neck extra far to make sure I can read it,” Townson said. “If it’s a cloudy day I don’t know what time it is and I’m late to class.”

One of these days, he said, will be his last, all because of a piece of art.

With growing concern surrounding the placement of the Sundial, Smith said the art department and maintenance decided that the Bosma Lounge in the Ribbens Academic Complex is the best place for the Sundial’s new home.

After announcing the new location, Dordt’s community offered mostly overwhelming support for the new site. The lounge was chosen for its abundance in natural lighting and the skylight in the center of the room.

The Sundial will be placed directly under the skylight so students and faculty will still be able to tell the time using this unique and historic device.

Dr. Janette Solders, professor of Ancient Antiquities and Historical Artifacts, was one of the few members of the Dordt community to protest the Sundial’s initial creation.

“This is an absolute disgrace,” Solders said. “The Sundial is not historically accurate, nor are the students intelligent enough to know how to use it.”

Criticism aside, the Sundial is set to be unveiled in its new location on Sunday, Nov. 31, 2016.

This article was taken from the Zircon issue of The Dordt Diamond

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