Vandals tear fence off Artist’s Bridge

One of South Puget Sound Community College’s many artistic pieces, the Percival Creek Bridge, also known as the Artist’s Bridge, was vandalized on Jan. 7.

Located on a beautiful nature trail that connects the library to Building 34, the Percival Creek Bridge was constructed in 1989 by artists Peter Richards and George Gonzalez. It has long been a place for students to hang out in an outdoor setting.

Last year a structural engineer inspected the bridge and found that the Artist’s Bridge is rotting. Afraid that the bridge had become dangerous, campus security was instructed to put a chain link fence around it. And while this fencing takes away from the bridges aesthetic appeal, Tracie Jones, SPSCC’s plant communications coordinator, said it is there to protect students and faculty.

The chain link fence has been in place since the beginning of fall quarter. It seems that not everyone realizes its importance yet. Sometime over the weekend or the morning of Jan. 7, someone cut through the chain-link fence and threw the ripped part off to the side. This vandalism not only defaces school property but it also makes the bridge a huge liability, said Jones.

According to Mike McCloskey, a security officer, campus security was notified of this vandalism between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. Jan. 7 when reports of someone dancing on the bridge came in.

The campus spent $1,300 securing the bridge, said Jones.

The bridge’s chain-link fence was found cut through for a second time on Jan 9.

Currently, South Puget Sound Community College and the Art Commission are discussing the bridge’s options. The debate is mainly between either repairing the bridge or eliminating it altogether.

While many would like to see the bridge repaired, as it is a unique and beautiful addition to SPSCC, the cost of restoration stands in the way. The exact cost is unknown.

Penny Koal, dean for facilities planning and operations at SPSCC, is involved in deciding the fate of the bridge. “It just breaks my heart that it’s come down to repairing it, which is a huge expense that we might not have the funds for, or taking it out,” she said.

The bridge remains a liability, especially with someone continually taking away the bridge’s protective barrier. However, the bridge is presently re-secured and will hopefully proceed without any further vandalism.