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Popular campus landmark gets new eco-friendly facade

by Thom Myers

Sept. 1, 2011 | WMU News

Photo of workers placing granite on WMU Campus Fountain.
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