Due to future renovations, the Athletic Association (AA) has notified the Ramblin’ Reck Club that they will no longer be able to use their current garage on campus to house the Ramblin’ Wreck. The Wreck is currently housed in an undisclosed location on East Campus.
“We are currently in the process of finding a permanent space, but the process is very slow,” said Winfield Tufts, current Wreck driver and fifth year IE major.
Most iconic for leading the football team onto the Grant Field at every home game, the Wreck represents one of the two mascots at Tech (the other being Buzz). In addition to promoting Tech traditions and spirit, the Reck Club is also the caretaker of the Wreck and is in charge of maintaining and preserving the Wreck for the student body. According to the T-Book, a publication released by the Reck Club, “The Ramblin’ Wreck is Georgia Tech’s one-of-a-kind mechanical mascot – a 1930 Ford Model A Sport Coupe that truly embodies the spirit and character of both the Institute and the student body.”
The AA announced late last spring that due to renovations near the Wreck’s current garage the Reck Club would have to move from their current location within two years. However, the Reck Club was not provided with an alternate space on campus and they have yet to find another location. Although, the AA (including Director of Athletics Dan Radakovich) did offer support in the search process.
“The Athletic Association was very open in communicating the time frame…the AA also gave us the names and contacts of who we needed to reach in order to find a new space,” Tufts said.
In addition to losing its current parking garage, the Reck Club is also seeking solutions to the problem of the small space provided, in favor of a much larger space. The current space is only large enough to house Wreck and does not have enough space for students to walk around it.
“The garage is not that much. We can’t really do repairs underneath the cars in the garage. When we need to do repairs under the car we have to back it out and jack it up,” Tufts said.
The Reck Club is going through the proper channels to attempt to find a different space on campus for the car through alumni connections and the greater Tech administration. Despite the aid of a representative of the administration, members of the Reck Club note the slow process of finding a potential space.
“The biggest problem that we are facing is that things are going very slowly. . . We were just told that we that we have only two years, and we need to get this on schedule to find a place to house the Wreck. We want a space that it deserves to take care of the car and not just a temporary shed for every five to ten years or a storage space or closet,” said Tufts.
Although the Wreck has always been housed on campus, this is not the first time that the location of the garage has changed. In the 1970’s it occupied a shed near the power plant. It was later moved to its current location before again being moved to a garage under Bobby Dodd Stadium. Due to renovations of the stadium, The Wreck moved back to its current location in 2001.
“We need the administration, we need someone from above to say The Ramblin’ Wreck is a tradition of Georgia Tech [and] it needs a respectable space so that it can be taken care of properly and maintained so that it can continue to be an icon for Tech,” said Tufts.
The Wreck has been under the care of the Reck Club since 1967, when its first owner Dean of Students Jim Dull retired. Dull had obtained the car after a search to find a car that represented the entire student body at Tech. The car has led the football team onto the field since 1961, and has not been absent from a game since.
The Reck Club is self-sufficient monetarily and does not receive a budget from the administration. The club uses its funds for the maintenance and renovation of the Wreck. The club generates revenue by bringing the Wreck to appearances, and this money helps pay for the cost of housing the car on campus. The Tech administration has proposed some possible locations for a new garage, yet none of these options have come to pass. In addition, the Reck Club has looked into renting space from a vendor outside of campus.
“The Ramblin’ Wreck is an icon of Georgia Tech. People take pride in the car. It has always been taken care of by the students and served for the students,” said Tufts.
2010 will mark the Ramblin’ Reck’s 50th year on campus. “We need to have space for it for another 50 years for this car,” said Tufts. “The Ramblin’ Wreck is an icon of the school, and I think it should be high on the priority list…it needs a proper and respectful permanent space for the rest of its time on campus.”