Main concourse of TUC, September 2006Opened one year after I left UD…Trabant, glorious home to neon and fast food! The back story, as I understand it: UD was in dire need of another student center. Perkins opened in the late '50s, and by the early '90s, the student headcount was, like, way bigger. The considered plans were to either expand Perkins, or build a whole new building. They obviously went for the second.
1993-ish was when the plans for Trabant were authorized and officially green-lit, including the somewhat controversial decision to tear down the “back half” of the Abbey. Here’s the deal with the church: the front half (the part they preserved and converted into a study hall) was built in 1868. The back half was an addition in 1927…and thusly, rationalized as being not as historically significant as the front. There were some protests to save it, however, it was obliterated in July of '94 to make way for the new Student Center. And hey, me being in Sypherd until Spring '94, I was among the last UD kids to have lived across the street from it.
View from fourth floor Sypherd bathroom, Spring 1994. Pre-Trabant preparations,you can see the back half of the church is sill intact...but not for much longer!Trabant opened in late April, 1996. Do I really need to rattle off what’s in there? It’s student center stuff. But regarding the actual look of the building: Some people love the modern design, others hate it. And you know what the Trabant-bashers usually object to…the neon and giant letters. A bit too over-the-top shopping center commercial. It’s been said that, similarly to the Great Wall of China, the Trabant letters can be seen from orbit (citation needed).
“The Abbey is a gorgeous place to study...and really quiet too. Sometimes I'd study there in-between classes...and sometimes I'd get work done, while other times I'd spend marveling at how quiet and focused everyone else was!”
- Aliza I, UD '04
“I hated studying in the Abbey, because it was too quiet. If you made any sort of noise or wanted to talk you'd get some of the dirtiest looks ever.”
- Rob S, UD '03
“I would have to say that what's left of the church was a prime spot for in-between napping when I went to UD. Anytime I went in there to study, there were always some drooling party-boys passed out on the couches with their book bags on their laps.”
- Carrie, UD '02
“My room sophomore year in Sypherd faced Trabant, and if we didn't pull our blinds down at night, the neon would keep us awake!”
- Randi, UD '00
“The Trabant University Center has those colorful illuminated capital letters that run along the wall of the main concourse. They describe the various services and shopping amenities, you know, the usual fare…when it opened, it included the 'Campus Shop.'
Since the letters are all connected from one word to the other, creating a giant, endless word from the south end to the north end, it was often fun to try and pronounce everything at once for whatever reason. Well, when you entered the building from the north entrance on Main Street, the wall hit a slight angle and the 'Cam' appeared to be cut off of 'Campus'...thus producing a 'PUSSHOP.'
The university ended up changing the words to say something else in that spot…but it was always an eye opener after a boring Art History lecture at Old College.”
- Keith W, UD '98
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