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“Finals Week” finds a new home

“Finals Week” in its new home. Photo by Jenaro Ramirez, Jr.

Chemeketa Library visitors have all seen it. Some have even run into it.

Since 1999, the statue of a rushing student carrying a tall stack of books, titled “Finals Week”, has called the hallway outside of the library on the main campus home. That changed over spring break, however, as a crew moved the heavy statue inside the library to its current location.

Natalie Beach, the Dean of Library and Learning Resources, said that the move was done for safety reasons.

“We’ve had a couple of inquiries within the last couple of years, people reporting that the books at the top of the statue stick out further than is safe,” she said. “So, somebody sight-impaired with a cane wouldn’t encounter the statue before it was too late, and we’ve also had reports of sighted individuals running into it while they were reading something on their phone.”

After the decision to move the statue was made, a crew was assembled to complete the move.

“We hired a team who’s familiar with doing work like this to come and help us and then we had people from our facilities team and from marketing and the library also kind of pitching in,” Beach said.

However, even with a dedicated team, moving the statue was not an easy process.

“[The workers] came at 7:30 in the morning that we moved, and it took them about five and a half or six hours to get it out, roll it in and get it reset back to its new place,” Beach said.

Beach said that the reason why the move took so long was because the statue itself was extremely heavy.

“I think that the artist stated in an email that it was 450 pounds, so it’s not a one-person job by any means,” she said. “They had it suspended and that gave them enough control to get it on a large dolly with wheels. They had it sideways and that’s how they got it into the library. So they rolled it through the doors. We actually had to take the center beam [of the doors] out because it was too wide to get through the doors.”

But before the crew could even move the statue, they had to remove the large pins that keep it in place.

“The statue itself has large pins in its feet about maybe a foot long with bolts that hold it in place and that actually goes through the structure of the building,” Beach said. “There’s a metal plate under it that keeps it stable when we put the bolts in… …so they had to actually come through the floor downstairs and undo all of that… …It took quite a bit of jostling to get it out of the floor. Then they had to redrill holes that would match the pins in the feet and get it set up.”

Although she had not heard many conversations by students and staff members regarding the move and new location of finals week, Beach said she knows that many people had to take a second look while passing the library recently.

“I haven’t had direct comments about it,” she said. “We moved it over the break, so I was surprised at the number of inquiries and onlookers that we had on break, given how few people there were around at the time. So I assumed there would be the same sort of reaction when they came back from break to see that it was in a different place. You can definitely see people pointing at it because the cones are still out there where it used to be, so people are noticing.”