Exploring Campus: The Solarium

By Gena Anderson | ganderson@flagler.edu

Many students have an idea of what the mysterious forbidden fourth floor looks like, but often locked doors prevent them from getting a closer look. I got that closer look.

Flagler College Director of Security Kerry Davis took me up into the Solarium to “experience” it. He scanned his card and the up the elevator we went. When the doors opened, I was looking at a metal spiral staircase covered by a rusted metal grate with ornate spikes on top – very old world looking, very foreboding.

We turned to the right and he unlocked the door to the ballroom for me and told me to go ahead and look around. I instantly ran to the big sliding glass window on the south side of the room. They have recently been renovated and looked like something from Anastasia.

The chairs that once filled the room – I peaked through the crack in the locked door my first year – were gone.

Then he took me down a corridor to show me my “office.” The Gargoyle used to be housed on the fourth floor in the earlier years of Flagler College. Students used to be allowed up there. There was even a snack bar.

In the room next to the former Gargoyle office I found the missing chairs all stacked up. Mystery of the missing chairs solved. They’re safe.

Next, we walked out onto the roof. You can see the world from there. Well at least our world. From the 312 bridge to Vilano and beyond. Davis made me regret not asking if I could watch the shuttle launch from up there. It’s so beautiful and the sky goes on forever.


Photo by Kelsey Schirard

Maybe it’s just me, but old structures always make me feel like I am living in the past a bit. I find myself looking around frantically as though I could catch a transparency of someone who walked there long before me, but that’s not what I got.

I got lots of dust specks floating around in beautiful rays of sunlight streaming in through the many windows. That was enough. I personally found the Solarium more beautiful than the dining hall, but a part of that was because the natural light is so bright and the holes in the walls that revealed wooden strips have so much character.

It is no secret to Security that students have gotten up there in the past. The walls are plastered with little penciled-in scriptures of who had been there and when. He laughed about them.

If you have a chance go check out the Solarium, do so lawfully, please. I am not encouraging unsupervised excursions up there. I love being Nancy Drew just as much as the next person, but mistakes happen and you really could get hurt.

There is on-going construction, breakable glass, and scary metal spikes. It really isn’t all that safe. I got up there just by asking if I could. It isn’t hard.

Take a lesson from the Communication Department- ask, ask, ask. Be polite and respectful and ask around. Security, maintenance, certain teachers- if you try hard enough you can usually get into where you want to be.

Be respectful. The Solarium is undergoing construction, do not destroy what they’re working on. That makes you a jerk. Don’t be a jerk. No one likes jerks.

If you happen to be an independently wealthy alumnus or Flagler College supporter, please donate money to build a new COM Department. After that, feel free to consider donating to the renovations of the Solarium. I can’t wait to come back one day and see the Solarium finished and restored.

I will be exploring campus and will post the coolest new place I found, because let’s be honest: Not all of us are living up to our Nancy Drew potential. So check back every other Friday to see what mysterious new place I have found and learn more about where it is and why it is worth going to. If you have a suggestion, let me know.

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