University plans to turn fountain on by Sept. 15 - Purdue Exponent: Campus

University plans to turn fountain on by Sept. 15

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Posted: Friday, August 17, 2001 12:00 am

For the first time since they were installed, the University's two most prominent fountains were turned off all summer.

Now students can expect to see one fountain turned back on soon but they will have to wait a while for the other.

On July 9, Purdue administrators approved the installation of a 10-foot-6-inch high stainless steel cylinder over the main water jets of the Class of 1939 Water Sculpture located in front of the Hovde Hall of Administration in the Purdue Mall.

Joe Bennett, vice president of University relations, said the cylinder is scheduled to be in place by Sept. 15 the date of Purdue's first home football game against Notre Dame.

"We would like to have it in place for people visiting for the first home game," he said.

The administration approved the plan because it provided an answer to both the safety and aesthetic concerns surrounding the fountain.

The plan was proposed by the advisory committee set up in April to find a solution to the controversy created by the announcement to place fences around the 1939 Water Sculpture and the Loeb Fountain in front of the Liberal Arts and Education Building.

Last summer, a young girl broke her arm playing in the Class of 1939 fountain and other injuries have been reported.

The stainless steel cylinder is based on an idea by the fountain's sculptor and designer, Robert Youngman, who designed the cylinder as an alternative to the fences.

After being proposed by the advisory committee, the cylinder was approved by the Architectural and Landscape Design and Planning Committee in early July paving the way for it to be considered by the administration.

Graham Cooks, a professor of chemistry who led a drive in April to obtain signatures against fencing the fountains, was the only member of the committee to vote against the proposal.

In a July interview with the Exponent, he said he voted against it because people are responsible for their own actions.

Even though he voted against it, Cooks said he supports the decision of the planning committee. He said it was not worth fighting anymore and those who were against doing anything to the fountains should put it behind them.

The cylinder will cover the water jets so no one will be able to walk over them, but people will still be able to interact with the fountain because water will shoot out from the top of the cylinder. A grate will be placed at the top of the device so no one will be able to climb inside it.

The cylinder will be covered with a mirrored-finish polish that will reflect the surrounding areas of the mall, a reflection that will constantly change for anyone who walks around it.

The cylinder will be 32 inches in diameter and will not touch the outer four pillars allowing students to still walk through the center of the sculpture.

The cylinder is being constructed in Indianapolis and will then be shipped to Michigan to receive the mirrored-finish polish. It will then come to Purdue's campus to be installed.

The committee has not come up with a solution to the Loeb Fountain in Founders Park. Bennett said the committee is considering changes that would not alter the appearance of the fountain changes that would not require fences.

He said the Loeb Fountain would not be ready to be turned on until next spring.

 

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