Cullen fountain quietly filled over Spring Break
Students were treated to an unexpected surprise when they returned to campus from Spring Break as the Cullen Family Plaza Fountain and Reflection Pool was filled with water. It was first drained in December 2014, and has been intermittently filled and drained several times since.
The iconic University of Houston fountain was put back into service on March 14 to test pumps and lighting systems before being drained for minor repairs, said David Oliver, the associate vice president for Facilities and Construction Management.
It was drained again for minor repairs and put back into testing on March 16. It will remain in testing mode with ongoing monitoring and adjustments to the pumping and lighting systems for the near future, Oliver said.
“At this time, it is planned to stay in operation unless further repairs are required,” Oliver said.
The 300,000-gallon fountain, dedicated in 1972 with a donation from the Cullen family, was taken out of service more than two years ago to repair extensive leaks and failing mechanical systems, Oliver said. During that time, the University sought the most efficient way to correct the problems.
“There was a substantial diagnostic period in which the subsurface piping and mechanical systems were analyzed, and the causes of the failures and leaks were identified by third party consultants,” Oliver said. “Once the cause of the problems was identified, different repair options were evaluated to develop a cost effective plan that would not only repair the fountain and bring it up to current code requirements but also upgrade the lighting systems to newer, controllable LED lights.”
The fountain will continue to be monitored for adjustments in the next month.
“Short outages may be necessary to adjust or repair the fountain systems at various times over the next several weeks,” Oliver said.