On March 7, 2017, the Associate Vice Chancellor of Physical Operations, Planning, and Development, Michael McLeod, sent out a campus-wide email with tragic news: the barn is going to be dismantled. We have been warned to stay clear of the barn, as recent weather has made the barn unstable and unsafe. Our beloved barn is red tagged and fenced off.
For those of you who may not know what the barn is, it is the ragged-looking structure due east of campus, about a mile from SSB. It sits like an island in a sea of green grass and lures UCM students with its mystical charm. The barn is as essential and necessary to UCM campus culture as the New Beginnings statue. It entices excitement, wonder, and even thrill in our student body. In fact, visiting the barn is somewhat of a tradition on campus. Adryan Paez shares his experience with the barn, “[It] was a tradition that we would visit it at the end of the semester…we heard it was supposed to be haunted, but the walk there was more scary than the barn.”
It is true that the barn is fabled to be haunted. The feeling of openness and the many dark nooks and crannies the barn provides can make its visitors anxious and yet, people still flock to it. It is hard to deny its alluring mysticism, especially when viewed from S&E 1 or from the parking lot at the top of the hil. It makes you curious, and draws you towards it with promises of adventure.
The barn has always been more than just the dingy-looking structure just east of campus. Kimberly Alvarez, a UCM student and fellow barn admirer, states, “It really is a signature…it will be missed.” Our barn is a part of campus, but the barn does need to be taken down. Heavy rain, wind, and even half a tornado has made it dangerous. However, there is some light in the darkness. The barn will most likely be rebuilt with some of the original materials. So although our barn can never be fully replaced, it will always be a part of our beloved campus.
Picture Credits: Sam Ginete, Merced Sun Star, & National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education