Campus Mystery!

If there’s one thing that St. John’s University lacks it’s parking spaces. But if there were two things, the other would be uniformity.

Whether it’s the familiar-brick pattern of Marillac and Bent Hall or the austere and less modern architecture of St. Augustine Hall (the library), St. John’s University seems to offer a veritable tapestry of architectural styles.

But none of those styles explains the structural anomaly The TORCH recently discovered.

The Mystery

Perched on the secondary roof of Alumni Hall, across the parking lot, stands a vacant regularly sized guard booth (similar to the unused one near Gate 3). Despite an obvious vacancy, the tower has remained on top of the building for more than two years.

The TORCH decided to investigate asking students, faculty and administrators what the tower could possibly have been used for.

“I have an idea what it could’ve been used for,” said Matt Lucier, a freshman. “I think it’s got something to do with some kind of missile defense system. I mean, in the event of a nuclear blast or detonation – St. John’s obviously had some sort of contingency plan.”

Despite obvious logical flaws, including the fact that a 6-foot booth would not be sufficient to defend against a nuclear strike, Lucier stuck to his opinion, “Listen, I know what I know,” he said.

John Hewson, a Presidential Scholar at St. John’s, had his own idea. “I heard there was overcrowding at Riker’s Island and in the summertime St. John’s leases out space at Alumni Hall, and the tower was erected in the event of a prison riot or breakout.”

Teeming with an insatiable curiosity, The TORCH decided to get to the bottom of things; here’s what we came up with.

The Truth

“It’s a security tower,” says Lt. Daniel Boylan of Public Safety. “I’ve been here for three years, and it’s never been used as far as I know. I believe it was used to monitor the large parking lot, to reduce the stolen car problem.”

Last year, in 1998, 22 cars were reported stolen at St. John’s University, and although the box offers a nice vantage point, it will likely not be used in the future.