University prepares to shut down main fountain until 2014
One cold day in late-November, you'll walk along the podium and gaze towards the University at Albany's most popular landmark, the main fountain.
You'll look at it and see its cold robin's-egg blue bottom crusted over with the hedonistic remains of late-night drinking binges and wild Fountain Day celebrations past; and think about all the fun that will be had in and around it starting mid-spring.
But you'd be wrong.
This coming March, the university will begin construction on the fountain and the surrounding area. Work will include various repairs and improvements to the site, including repainting the carillon and repairing the 311,000 gallon water tower.
The tower hasn't been renovated since it was built in 1962. And that means no Fountain Day for a second year in a row.
"It's more than aesthetic," said John Giarusso, associate vice president of finance and business for UAlbany.
They'll be refurbishing the speaker system in the carillon as well.
As far as the work done on the surrounding area, Giarusso said the university will be replacing the big glass windows that separate the outdoor fountain area from the lecture centers with more energy efficient ones.
Giarusso said most of the louder work will be done during the summer and intersession months.
"It'll be a concern," he said regarding noise affecting students taking classes in the lecture halls.
Last year the fountain was kept off for pretty much the entirety of the second semester so the university could save face and prevent any further debauchery from occurring in the name of the school after it was lambasted by local and national media outlets for the damage done by students during Kegs and Eggs.
During the initial meeting discussing the possibilities for an alternative to Fountain Day last year, one student recommended having a picnic, to which University President George Philip replied "you know what a picnic is, it's a party." It was clear he did not want to allow for any circumstances where things could get out of hand.
Neither the Student Association nor the university planned an event to take the place of Fountain Day last year and as of now; there is no plan to replace the usual drunken celebration of vernal commencement this year or in the future.
While the reparations are necessary to ensure the aesthetic and structural foundations of the water tower and the surrounding areas remain intact, it may cause some inconveniences for the classes of 2013 and 2014. The class of 2013 is guaranteed to only have one real Fountain Day, the one in their freshman year.
The class of 2014's situation is less clear. They are guaranteed to miss the Fountain Days of their first three years and could possibly miss their senior year Fountain Day, depending on when the project is finished.
So get your final dips, splashes and dives in now, because when the fountain spurts its final drops sometime in mid-November — it'll be gone for a long time.
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