Museum of Contemporary Religious Art

October 22, 2009

The not-so-big dig

Filed under: Staff member commentary — Tags: , — mocraslu @ 6:17 pm

When your museum is part of a university, you occasionally encounter matters beyond your control that nonetheless have an impact on your life. Consider, for example, the case of MOCRA’s front lawn, a courtyard shared with the rest of the Fusz Memorial building. Several weeks ago, we noticed that a section of the lawn was not draining as well as usual. In fact, it was coming to look alarmingly like a wetlands, and was becoming quite popular with the campus bird and squirrel population.

After some intramural attempts at remedying the situation failed to dry things out, our facilities crew called in some reinforcements. I looked out MOCRA’s lobby doors on Monday morning to see …

Backhoe at MOCRA's door.

... a backhoe at MOCRA's door.

I popped outside, camera in hand, to document the proceedings.

No, MOCRA is not under renovation.

No, MOCRA is not under renovation.

The suspected culprit was a water line feeding from a city main that runs down the campus mall. First, a precautionary shut-off of the water to the building.

Don't you hate it when you drop your keys?

Don't you hate it when you drop your keys?

Then the digging began. Early estimates were that they might have to go down as far as 18 feet to find the pipe, which would result in a terraced series of cuts into the lawn.

The first cut, contrary to popular song, is not the deepest.

The first cut, contrary to popular song, is not the deepest.


It was starting to act like quick-mud. I watched a worker from the grounds crew sink in up to his knee a few days prior to the dig.

It was starting to act like quick-mud. I watched a worker from the grounds crew sink in up to his knee a few days prior to the dig.

Still haven't found those keys.

Still haven't found those keys.

Fortunately for all concerned, the pipe was encountered less than 7 feet down. Even at that depth, the crew had already had to cut through some stubborn Missouri clay.

Wait, there they are!

Wait, there they are!

The pipe indeed had a break in it. In short order they replaced that section and filled everything back in.

Almost as if they were never there ... almost.

Almost as if they were never there ... almost.

Now we wait to see if the problem is solved or if there are additional cracks in the pipe. Our thanks to the grounds and facilities crews, and to the contractors, for their efforts to rectify the situation. Although we’ll miss the spectacle of squirrels floating in the puddles with their water wings, we’ll be glad to look out our door onto good solid (and dry) ground.

— David Brinker, Assistant Director

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