Columns Opinion

Fountain continues to see issues despite promise

fountain edit

The school has failed to deliver its promise of a functional fountain for too long. | File photo/The Cougar

In May, I published a column about the Cullen Family Plaza Fountain and how students could find more important things to be worried about than that.

Now, the subhead for this story should probably be something along the lines of “Thomas Dwyer eats his own words.” Copy chief, please see to it.

Anyway, that’s what I am doing here. I have waited patiently for the announcement to come at the beginning of this year that the fountain would reopen for good. It was briefly filled, a reopening ceremony was scheduled, postponed and then cancelled.

I’m not mad, just disappointed. The fountain had been closed for two years, which sounds like ample time to figure things out.

Apparently, that is not the case. A deadline was set for when the fountain would reopen, and then it briefly returned to life. It was closed again right after. Now, nearly two months have passed and there is no information about what is going on with the fountain anywhere.

The fountain had been drained and undergoing repairs since 2014. In the early stages, the school had a sign on the fence around the structure informing passersby about its condition and when it was expected to be finished.

There is no clear date, as of right now, for when the it is even expected to be filled again.

“Because of the nature of the problems that have been encountered, the timeline for completion has yet to be finalized,” said Jacquie Vargas, an administration and finance communicator representing the facilities management department. “There is significant testing that will occur in November that will help finalize the scope of work that still needs to be accomplished. It is difficult to give an expected completion date at this time until we have testing completed.”

It does not make sense to keep something central to the identity of the campus empty and derelict for so long.

Hopefully, we’ll get the information we need this month. Hopefully, we won’t wait for two more years to see water filling this fountain.

I was naive when I wrote the original column.

I understand that the University is making great strides to give students something that they can be proud of. Yet, keeping the fountain empty for prolonged periods of time only forms one thought on all students’ minds: hating it for not being filled.

The fountain is a piece of what little university culture we currently have, a spectacle that every student should be able to enjoy. The story of how its evolution from a simple reflection pool to a fountain, complete with walkways and even an art sculpture on it, is amazing.

The fountain must be repaired with haste.

Assistant opinion editor Thom Dwyer is a broadcast journalism sophomore and can be reached at [email protected]


  • “Remember when it opened earlier this semester and it turned green?
    That’s because the filtration system failed, so they closed it to fix
    the issue.

    After replacing that, it was open again for one night and the lights
    were even on. During the next day, a group of students decided to play
    in it and ended up breaking a couple lights.

    So, it was closed again to fix those. During that closure, they found
    that the contractor tried to cut corners and scam the university; the
    installed lights weren’t up to code for underwater lights and could have
    electrocuted people in the water when they were turned on.” – Dude from Reddit who, “keeps his ear to the ground”

  • The fountain is the one place on campus that looks nice. It’s truly a disappointment to see how mismanaged it is. More than two years should be plenty of time to fix whatever needs work. To be honest, I don’t believe any work is being done on it at all. The only time higher management turns it on is when we have donors coming in for an event, or when graduation is occurring. Hopefully some of the money from the raise 1 billion project goes to fountain repairs.

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