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The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Buried history: Time capsules to be opened for 100th anniversary next academic year

The time capsules buried beneath plaques between the Rodda halls date back to the 1920s. Photo by Vanessa S. Nelson. |
The time capsules buried beneath plaques between the Rodda halls date back to the 1920s. Photo by Vanessa S. Nelson. | [email protected]

As City College students enter the campus from Freeport Boulevard, they walk over diamond-shaped copper plaques that date from 1927 to 2014. Years of the college’s history have been encased beneath them, along with a hint of mystery surrounding their contents.

Since 1916, City College has offered students educational opportunities, sports and activities. The student body’s social experience has expanded from the long ago Pioneer Days celebrations to today’s People’s Day on the quad.

Just as people take photos and videos to record these experiences, City College has its own way of scrapbooking under these copper plaques. The college has been packing memorabilia inside time
capsules for years, and with City College’s 100th anniversary coming up, the time to open them is drawing close.

“There are two major time capsules that will be opened during the 100th anniversary celebration,” says Public Information Officer Rick Brewer, “both of them being the 1926 and 1927 capsules.”

The college moved to its current location in the fall of 1926, and the tradition of annually installing a time capsule under a plaque bearing the year was started in the spring of 1927. It has continued ever since, notes City College archivist Caroline Harker. City College will begin its centennial celebrations in the fall semester of 2016, exactly 100 years from when the first 46 students attended Sacramento Junior College during the 1916–17 academic term. The college began on the upper floor of the old Sacramento High School on K Street and moved to a single administration and classroom building on about 60 acres of mostly bare land on Freeport Boulevard 10 years later.

Time capsules are scattered throughout campus, but the most noticeable ones are located near the Performing Arts Center, between Rodda Halls North and South, near the Learning Resource Center, and near the Child Development Center.

Brewer says that the time capsule in front of the Performing Arts Center will be excavated and opened Sept. 22. Another time capsule located near the Child Development Center is set to be opened Oct. 7, while the time capsule near the LRC is scheduled to be opened Feb. 9, 2017.

“The [dates] still may change,” says Brewer, who adds that a time capsule will be buried to coincide with the 2017 commencement ceremony on May 27. A location has yet to be determined.

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Love explains that after she collects the items on a list, she sends them to campus Operations, where they not only filter the items through a committee and decide what items get accepted, but also coordinate with the district facilities. Those people dig a new hole, bury the capsule and place a new tile on top.

“There actually used to be this scroll that the graduates would sign that would go in the time capsule,” says Love. “But now I think they have the students sign these long banners, and they write things on there.”

According to Love, all but four time capsule plaques are made of copper. During World War II, there was a rise in the price of copper, causing the school to use an alternative method for burial.

“I recall hearing that [obtaining] copper to mark the capsules was expensive during the war,” Love says. “So those capsules were covered with cement.”

In terms of what’s inside, students who have heard about the time capsules’ existence have guesses about their content.

“I think there’s just gonna be tons of letters and knick-knacks,” said art major Beverly Simon.

Early childhood education major Vikki Rodda — who says she is not related to the late Sen. Albert Rodda for whom two campus buildings are named — is excited about the unveiling.

“It would be really cool if they gave graduates boxes full of school stuff of that year. That would be a really sweet memento,” Rodda says. “A big ceremony would be really cool, too.”

According to Brewer, the capsules’ unveiling will be honored with an official celebration for the school’s anniversary in August on the first day of school. In October, the college will host a community day filled with cake, ice cream and food trucks, as well as a football game that will conclude with a fireworks show.

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