Popular campus landmark gets new eco-friendly facade
Sept. 1, 2011 | WMU News
Workers used a large crane to place granite slabs on the Campus Fountain.
KALAMAZOO--An iconic landmark on the campus of Western Michigan University--the Campus Fountain--got a new facade this summer that will greatly reduce maintenance and material costs while providing an extremely durable and attractive exterior.
The 43-year-old fountain was originally built with a brick and mortar facade that required frequent maintenance of the mortar and replacement of bricks. Located in the high-traffic Fountain Plaza next to Miller Auditorium, the fountain is subject to considerable wear, weather and--being a fountain--lots of water.
Beginning mid-July, the brick facade was removed and replaced with large granite slabs from the former Upjohn Co. world headquarters in Portage, which was razed in 2007.
"With the free granite, we had the opportunity to remove the maintenance problem and replace it with a very low-maintenance, cost-effective solution," says Pete Strazdas, associate vice president for Facilities Management. "Improving the life-cycle costs of materials and systems is part of our sustainability goals."
In addition to the new granite facade, the interior pool walls were repainted, and the chlorination and filtration systems were updated this summer.
Campus Fountain Fun Facts
- Campus Fountain was built in 1968, one year after completion of adjacent Miller Auditorium, Brown Hall and Sprau Tower.
- It measures 62 feet by 92 feet and holds 90,000 gallons of water.
Nine variable speed and motion water jets can shoot water as high as 60 feet. A high-wind over-ride reduces the height of the spray so it does not blow over the edge of the fountain and onto passersby.
President Floyd had his picture taken at the fountain in 1998.
- It is possibly the most photographed landmark at WMU. Thousands of students, including incoming freshmen and new graduates, have pictures taken in front of the fountain every year.
- During typical operation, the fountain is on from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., although that varies with time of year and daylight. It is shut down and drained when weather forecasts call for recurring sub-freezing temperatures.
- The new granite facade is from the former Upjohn Co. world headquarters and was donated to the University.
- Small vertical pieces of granite are spaced along the top edge of the fountain border to discourage skateboarding and reduce the resulting damage to the fountain.