May 11, 2011

Landmark Student Center fountain restored

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- One of Southern Illinois University Carbondale's landmark gems has taken on a new sparkle.

A completely refurbished triple-spout fountain is once again in operation in the Student Center courtyard. Original to the center, dedicated June 10, 1961, the fountain had stopped working properly and was in need of mechanical and cosmetic repairs. Work will continue throughout the week on the surrounding courtyard.

“In celebration of the Student Center’s 50th anniversary of service to the University and the region, we decided it was time to restore the fountain and courtyard. It’s a way of building school spirit and making the fountain courtyard an inviting place for students and the community. The fountain and courtyard area has historically been a place where students and alums gather for photos and serves as a central meeting point on campus,” said Lori Stettler, assistant vice chancellor for auxiliary services.

In recent weeks employees from the Student Center and Plant and Services Operations have undertaken the big renovation and refurbishment project, said Tena Bennett, associate director of the Student Center.

Crews disassembled, thoroughly cleaned and sealed components of the black granite fountain before putting it all back together and re-grouting the stone. The fountain has all new plumbing and lighting and is now on a timer system, allowing staff to control when it is in operation. Plans call for the fountain to run on a schedule corresponding with the hours of the Student Center and special campus events.

The cracked old sidewalks surrounding the fountain are gone and new concrete aggregate and landscape rocks are in place. Two new trees and other landscaping are going in this week.

Students in the advanced landscaping class of Karen Midden, professor of plant, soil science and agricultural systems, created various landscaping plans for the area, incorporating a variety of native plants, designs and other elements. Bennett said the final design incorporates elements from several of the student proposals.

Staff from the Student Center and maintenance and grounds staff are planting flora in the fountain courtyard this week and will add other elements as needed in the future, Bennett said.

“We are excited that the fountain will again serve as a landmark for the University, a place where students and alums can gather to reflect and celebrate their role in the Saluki family,” Stettler said.