The Elevator Doesn't Go to the Annex

Bill Wolfe -End of MICOM

A "Light Moment" prepared by Tammy Orr

The elevator doesn't go to the Annex, and, according to a November 1981 issue of OSC’s OSCillations newsletter, “neither do messages or schedule updates taped to the inside of it.” Apparently, OSCers of the Annex had been disappointed when they arrived for a talk only to discover that it had been rescheduled for a time three-and-a-half hours earlier. The notice went on to remind “message-posters” that “the elevator’s a good place — but don’t forget the Annex!” 

Professor Emeritus Bill WolfeProfessor Emeritus Bill Wolfe related to me another time that inhabitants of the Annex dealt with communication challenges. In 1976, as the Optical Sciences Center grew and space in the building became tight, it was decided that a group of faculty, including Wolfe, Roland Shack, Jim Burke, and Arvind Marathay, would move to the Annex. This 8,000-square-foot building was formerly the Anshei Israel schul and it sat about a block from the main OSC building where the football practice field is now located. When the schul was reconfigured for office and lab space, UA Facilities Management had promptly installed telephones and a switchboard. Said switchboard, much to Bill’s disappointment, was located in the back of a closet where he had planned to build a set of shelves.

Bill promptly called “the guy in charge” at Facilities Management to complain. He was told that it would cost OSC an additional $200 to move the switchboard to the other wall since all the wires would have to be disconnected and reconnected. Needless to say, Bill was not deterred: he attacked the problem with help from good friends Jerry DeBell and Lang Brod. After due consideration, they unscrewed the entire 4-foot-by-4-foot board and moved it to the opposite wall, completely intact and with no disconnections. Time for another call to Facilities Management.

Bill: Forget the request to move the switchboard: I like it where it is now.

Facilities Management: Where are you calling from, a phone booth?

And so, Bill says, “began a lot of good work in the Annex.” But despite the building’s previous identity, he couldn’t claim that it was "all kosher.”