Ohio University: A Campus of Meaningful Place

A few weeks ago I got an email requesting the use of my photography from inside the TB ward at the Ridges in Athens Ohio. I usually don't care who uses my photos as long as they ask first and give me credit. I got a follow up email yesterday saying the project was done and I can now review it. I'm very happy to be part of "Ohio University: A Campus of Meaningful Place"

The following is the article used with my images:
The Tuberculosis Building
The Tuberculosis (TB) Building is easily the most popular and mysterious place at The Ridges. With stories of reputed torture, suicide, and haunting attached to it, many students are lured to this creepy place. The physical features of the TB Building, including the barbed wire fence, broken windows, and abandoned interior, communicate how to act within the place. As Tony Hiss (1990) explains, “We let the layout of a place give us an advance reading on such things as whether we can linger there or need to keep moving, how relaxed we’ll be if we stay, and even whether we’ll feel comfortable about talking to people already there.” The barbed wire fence around the building and boarded windows immediately signal that visitors are not welcome to enter.
Should someone ignore those signals, their senses would register an alarming combination once inside the building. As Hiss (1990) explains, “simultaneous perception . . . combine[s] the responses of all our senses, [so] any change in our surroundings which our senses can register—in the light, in colors, in sounds, in smells, in anything else we can detect—alters the information that this mechanism receives.” Visitors cannot help but notice an internal response to the change in surroundings inside the TB Building. To begin, it is dark because it has no electricity. The students we spoke with recalled becoming more alert as they entered the property, as if they had to hold their breath while visiting. In addition to the lighting, or lack thereof, students reported a heightened sense of sound above all other senses. Because the building is completely abandoned, any noise is sure to startle even the bravest visitor. While the noises can be attributed to small animals that have made the TB Building their home, imaginations can run wild in this unfamiliar place. In addition, randomly strewn furniture reminds them that this place used to house people who were deemed a hazard to themselves and society. Graffiti decorates the walls and beer cans litter the floors. While some students enjoy playing around inside the TB Building, one cannot help but feel uneasy walking the halls of this building. Students told us that the novelty of the place wears off after only a few minutes. Feelings change from “this is so of here…now.”
The TB Building at The Ridges is not a place people simply “pass by.” Visitors intentionally seek out this landmark for various reasons. One visitor may be interested in the architecture of the property, while another is interested in ghost hunting. Once again, simultaneous perception can be used to illustrate how the TB Building communicates meaning. Hiss (1990) writes, “Because people can get many kinds of messages from each place they encounter, any building or piece of land used or seen by more than one person has a public-use component that always needs to be managed in ways that take simultaneous perception into account.” Although the TB Building does not necessarily have a distinct “public-use component,” it clearly holds a lot of meaning for the students of Ohio University. Many students we talked to wondered why an Ohio University-owned abandoned building, one filled with debris and
left-over furniture, was even still standing. As we researched The Ridges we often wondered the same thing.
To see more of my images of the Ridges and other abandoned places, visit my other site Rejected Memories
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