The large fountain in front of the Fresno State bookstore sometimes looks more like a bubble bath than a water feature.
“There are pranks with soap, coloring, etc, especially during rush, homecoming and graduation,” Michael Frick, the lead groundsman of Plant Operations, said “We probably have something measurably dumped in it every 30 to 45 days.”
Some people might find this to be a harmless prank, but others see it as a serious issue with a drastic impact.
“If the fountain is soaped, we try additives, but if this doesn’t work, we need to drain the fountain,” Frick said. “After thoroughly cleaning it, which could take four to five hours, we fill the fountain for about six hours. That’s a lot of wasted water, about 8,000 gallons.”
As harmless as it may seem to be, this sort of a prank does seem to have an impact on Fresno State, as well as its students. With all of the budget issues, pranks like this might be costing everybody more than they realize.
“If the vandalism is bad enough, the electricians and plumbers might be called in as well,” Frick said. “I know it is fun for the folks, but it is an issue both in time and natural resources.”
Palazzo at Campus Pointe, a student living apartment complex near Fresno State, has dealt with this same prank; however, it happens in the community spa rather than a fountain.
Janis Neves, the assistant property manager at Palazzo, felt a little differently about the prank at the apartments.
“It is not a big issue here, it has happened about two times,” Neves said. “They have to filter it and treat it and that costs about $300.”
That money sometimes cuts into the entertainment budget for the Palazzo.
“We don’t budget for it to happen, which does affect the monthly events we have,” she said.
John Balbach, is both a criminology student at Fresno State and a resident at Palazzo. He thinks the pranksters are being thoughtless.
“I am not normally over by the fountain at school, but I have seen it at times and think that it is disrespectful to everybody,” Balbach said. “At the Palazzo, I like to go relax in the spa when I finish working out or after a long day at work. If I wanted a bubble bath, I wouldn’t go to the spa.”
Although these pranks are costly to Fresno State, Frick feels it is necessary to clean and maintain the fountain.
“The impact that vandalism has on this fountain could be several hundred dollars per month, but as it is a gathering place and a focal point both visually and sound. It is a nice addition to this campus,” Frick said.