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Memorial Fountain renovation complete

By | May 03, 2012 | News

Malcom Masten and his wife look at the renovated Memorial Fountain after
a ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday. Associated Student, Inc. President
Selena Farnesi said the $40,000 renovation was a good decision, but many
students felt it was “pointless.”
Esteban Cortez / The Collegian

Some students feel $40,000 renovation was ‘unnecessary’ and ‘waste of money’

A $40,000 Memorial Fountain renovation project was officially completed and unveiled yesterday during a ribbon cutting ceremony at Memorial Court.

The renovation — which was funded by Associated Students, Inc. and the University Student Union board of directors — has some students asking if the renovation was necessary and whether the money could have been spent on other services.

Elvia Gutierrez, a senior sociology student, says she doesn’t understand why the fountain was renovated.

“I didn’t see anything wrong with the previous fountain,” Gutierrez said. “I don’t see why they had to remodel it.”

ASI President Selena Farnesi says she thinks the fountain did need some work and that its previous condition didn’t reflect Fresno State well.

“It’s kind of this focal point for the campus and we wanted to make sure that — since students really identify with the fountain as part of Fresno State’s campus — it was a beautiful place to be, and our feeling was that it wasn’t,” said Farnesi.

The idea to renovate the fountain was developed in 2010 during Fresno State’s centennial year. ASI and the USU board wanted to provide the university with a gift that would have a lasting impact, Farnesi said, and that all students could enjoy. Utilizing reserve funds, ASI and USU donated $40,000 that would pay for fountain renovations.

“[Students] want to be on a campus where things are nice,” Farnesi said. “If a student walks by the fountain and it’s gorgeous, they’re going to have more respect for the place that they are, rather than if they walk by a fountain that’s broken, dirty and doesn’t run.”

Before the renovation, the fountain had several issues and damages, according to Farnesi. She said it was covered in a stucco finish and had malfunctioning lights. She added that there was broken concrete along the base of the fountain and that the rim was lopsided, causing an uneven flow of water.

Although the planning process has been going on for two years, construction and repairs started only about a month ago, and the renovation was officially completed this week.


Memorial Fountain was first dedicated in 1962 as a gift from several
graduating classes from the 1950s and 1960s to honor veterans. It was
rededicated yesterday to honor students from the Fresno State centennial.
Photo courtesy of Associated Students, Inc.

Among the several repairs and additions to the fountain are a new rim, clean tile and LED lights that will allow lighting color adjustments, such as turning the fountain red on game days, which Farnesi thinks will boost school spirit. The fountain will also be rededicated to students of the centennial, although previous dedications will be preserved.

Still, some students have said that the fountain renovation is “pointless” and “a waste of money.” Students on the Fresno State Facebook page have proposed that buying new computers for students would have been a better use of funds, and Gutierrez said she would have preferred a new monument, like a bulldog statue that was also considered as a gift by ASI and the USU board in 2010. Some students have said that the money should be spent on classes, funding professor salaries or donatedto charity. But Farnesi said that’s out of ASI and the USU board’s control, as it comes from a different pool of money.

Despite criticism, Farnesi said that an overwhelming majority approved the fountain renovation and that she hasn’t received too many complaints. She said that several students proposed not spending the money at all, and added that the money would just “sit there” if it wasn’t spent on projects. She thinks it’s an appropriate gift that will have a lasting impact and that it will recognize students who helped make Fresno State what it is today.

The fountain was first dedicated in 1962, and was a gift from several graduating classes from the 1950s and 1960s to honor veterans. It has since then become one of the most well-known monuments on campus.

Malcolm Masten, whose parents were the original donors of the fountain, was present at the original dedication ceremony in 1962, as well as yesterday’s ceremony.

“It was thrilling and it was meaningful,” he said about the rededication. “It looked beautiful and we can all be proud of it.”

“It’s a nice way to involve students and it is something that the campus needed in terms of beautification,” Farnesi said. “We were all here during the huge 100th birthday celebration, and I think that students need a way to be included in that and be remembered for their contribution to the university.”

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7 Responses to Memorial Fountain renovation complete

  1. CJ says:

    I have a few questions about the article and the fountain itself.

    “The overwhelming majority…” Really? Why are the majority of student grumblings about the fountain negative or most of the comments on the Fresno State Facebook page negative?

    If $40,000 was used to renovate the fountain that was initially dedicated to the veterans decades ago and re-dedicated to the veterans hours ago, why is there nary a mention of the veterans on the plaque?

    Why does the plaque seem specifically congratulatory to the ASI, to the USU Board of Directors, Plant Ops, and the Centennial celebration but does not specifically mention our veterans (you know, the people who the fountain is supposedly dedicated to)?

    If one had no idea why the fountain was initially dedicated, “celebrate Fresno State students and their service to our Country” hardly seems to provide any clarity to the fact that the fountain was dedicated to veterans twice – why is that?

    Also, as someone else asked on the Facebook page, why weren’t veterans invited? Would that have gotten in the way of the ASI government playing in the fountain?

    Finally, should students follow the precedent of our leadership by jumping in the fountain, are the students to go without punishment as well?

    If my questions are seen as unreasonable, I can only defend my line of absurd questions being in line with the absurd defense of allocating the funds to renovate the fountain when many argue the money could have been used more effectively.

    Furthermore, if one “lets go” of the fact that the money is being used for the fountain because it’s for a noble cause (which was the mindset I personally took), recognizing the ASI, USU Board of Directors, Plant Ops, and the Centennial celebration far more prominently than our veterans is the most absurd action of all.

  2. r says:

    The fountain was fine as it was. I have LESS respect for the campus for being so wasteful. I doesn’t look much different to me now.

    If anything needed to be fixed it would be the classes with missing tiles in the ceiling.

  3. HR says:

    I feel like this was just a way for the members of ASI and the USU Board to feel important and prestigious. If it had really been for the campus, they wouldn’t have dedicated it to themselves. It feels like a very selfish move. I honestly have trouble believing it had anything to do with the rest of us. So go play in your fountain of self-indulgence, ASI, while everyone else reaps absolutely zero benefit from $40000 in an economy where that could have really changed the community. Imagine if we’d donated that money to the Bulldog pantry, that would have really been a way to honor the sacrifice of our veterans.

  4. Corey says:

    I’m tired of education sparing no expense on everything else but educational/course material. I don’t understand why administration cannot make any cuts in ways of salary or jobs, but students get cut out of every damn item.

    I’m not opposed to some new developments around the campus, but $40,000 for a damn planter? No way.

  5. Raxis says:

    God, what a waste. The old fountain reflected the campus perfectly; a corrupted, decaying core surrounded by a pretty exterior. Now it’s pretty all over, but the Campus itself is no tower of knowledge; it’s a scaffold made of rotting wood.

  6. Albert says:

    Want to hear something funny, I mean really funny? The renovation of the fountain actually cost $60,000 -not $40,000. Perhaps someone in ASI can and should explain why they are not telling everyone the full story.

  7. Robert Salko says:

    Thats a crazy amount. Renovate yes, but at 40-60 thousand no.

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