Sep 22, 2018

Memorial Fountain renovation complete

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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