In this issue of the Harbor Tides we begin looking back at the history of Harbor College as it approaches it’s 70th Anniversary. Harbor has changed drastically from what it has been to what it has now become. Yet this editorial is not about what has been or is, instead it is about what will be. Surrounding us, as we walk from classroom to classroom, building to building, we see Harbor’s past mingling with its future.
Steel, concrete, glass, being the characteristics that seem to define the future of Harbor surrounding the decommissioned, and soon to be decommissioned, brick and wooden structures that remind us of the history of what once was. If you were to walk through the campus’ gym and athletic department you would see on the walls old photographs of the various sports teams Harbor once had, sports and teams that no longer exist on campus except for these relics reminding us that we once were much different from what we are now.
These old photographs are memories, memories of a bright past, memories of a campus once known throughout the district as ‘Happy Harbor.’ Much like those photographs, the old decommissioned buildings being demolished serve as a memory of what Harbor once was, of the memories past generations created and left on our campus. Yet, while we are lucky enough to maintain some of the memories past sports teams created thanks to the old photographs still being displayed, the memories created in and by buildings such as the old Seahawk Center, the old Library, the Cafeteria, and other such buildings will be wiped away with their demolition not unlike Harbor has done before in the past. Going back a few decades, Harbor was once a campus with a culture and a legacy.
It had a stone walkway with various customized in-laid stones representing our students, totem poles and murals which celebrated the various cultures of the students on it’s campus; the campus of Harbor College had a personality. All of that past history however was wiped from our campus in one fell swoop when the administration from that time period suddenly decided we no longer needed it. Few of us might remember what that campus looked like, a campus that felt a lot more inclusive and celebratory of our differences, yet if we look around, we can still see a few relics from that time period standing.
We still have the old Seahawk center where countless generations of students have spent their off hours making memories with friends. We have the reconstructed mural that MECHA brought back from Harbor’s history with the help of our students, as well as a lone mural on campus sitting in front of the old administration building, but, the culture and legacy of Harbor, much like our old buildings, is slowly being demolished every time the school chooses to make changes that ignore the cultural history and personality that our campus has. This indifference to our history has occasionally reared its head into current administrative decisions. The recent focus from the campus towards demolition and construction has left topics, such as what will happen to the mural in front of the administration building as well as MECHA’s reconstruction, to yet be asked.
There has been a focus on building new and better buildings while forgetting to leave intact the legacy and trademarks that made Harbor what is and what it has always been, an inclusive home away from home for it’s students. In it’s place we’ve been left with the steel, concrete, and glass so predictable of bland universities and college campus’ across the country.
With the new Student Union and other construction taking place and ending this upcoming spring semester, our campus has a new opportunity to reverse these trends. Will Harbor continue it’s indifference towards it’s history and students, or will it do something radically different?
We at The Tides hope to see more opportunities for students, alumni, and the surrounding community to voice their opinions on decisions regarding what needs to be improved on campus as well as what needs to remain intact. For now however, we will no longer have a Seahawk Center, but will instead be left with a bland student union that you can find on any campus, a shiny monument to progress, or we can only hope.