Old sculpture finds a new home

After the old council oak tree blew over in the wind in 1987, it had been turned into a sculpture, which has been hanging in Schofield Hall — until now.

The sculpture will now call the Nursing Building on campus home. Lois Slattery, the building coordinator for the nursing building said she contacted Tom Wagener, director of the Foster Art gallery, to see if he could help fill an artistic void.

Wagener said an article in the nursing newsletter laying out the importance of the council oak tree to nursing students sparked his interest in putting the oak sculpture in the nursing building.

“It used to be where the seniors who were graduating would hang their uniforms in the council oak tree, kind of a right of passage, it was a tradition,” Wagener said. “It unfortunately ended when the tree blew down.”

Senior Kayla Roeser, a nursing major, said having the council oak tree sculpture in the nursing building makes her feel like part of campus. She said the nursing building is so far away from everything else on campus and having something so important to Eau Claire in her main building of study really makes a difference in being a Blugold.

One disappointing factor of the new sculpture placement is where it is located in the hall.

“It’s kind of hard to see it when you walk in, and if you don’t walk up, you don’t see it,” Roeser said. “I don’t think many students will notice it.”

Regardless if the sculpture will bring in more students or community members to the nursing building, Slattery said the sculpture has made many nursing students happy.

“The nurses feel like it’s home now.”