The Board of Trustees Plaza, located in the heart of central campus, between Waldo Library, the University Computing Center and the new Student Center, was in need of an upgrade. The fountain, originally built in 1994, was in disrepair and no longer serviceable. The plantings around the fountain were root-bound and unhealthy, and in need of replacement. And the retaining walls surrounding the area were crumbling and becoming unsafe. With the new Student Center and Dining Facility under construction right next door, WMU took the opportunity to give the old fountain area a makeover, meshing the design with the Student Center site and creating a more welcoming, inclusive area for the campus community to congregate.
The project goals included replacing the outdated, unsafe fountain with a new water feature, creating a clear path through the plaza, addressing the existing retaining walls and creating a greener, softer space. New landscaping, much of it taken from splits of existing perennials and grasses around campus, paving, lighting and outdoor furniture work with the water feature and built-in seat walls to invite users to sit awhile and enjoy the space.
The new fountain uses granite that was salvaged from the Upjohn Company's now-demolished World Headquarters building that stood on Portage Road for years. The granite slabs are used at the new stepped fountain area, creating the backdrop for the cascading water, as caps on the various retaining walls and as facings on the new landscape beds throughout the area. Several existing plaza features, including large boulders, bike racks and planters were retrieved both for re-use in this area and elsewhere on campus.
Construction was completed in the summer of 2022.
Questions regarding the Board of Trustees Plaza Renovation project should be directed to Barb Vader, Project Manager: email@example.com or (269) 387-8559.