The Blue & Gray Press

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Fountain renovation means loss of popular hangout location

3 min read

A look behind the construction fences surrounding fountain renovation. | Matthew Simmons

By PATRICK BROWN

Staff Writer

As students are returning to campus for yet another nontraditional semester, one more difference this semester brings is that the fountain outside of Virginia Hall is being renovated, limiting students’ access to the popular spot.

Many students feel disappointment as a result of the fountain no longer being accessible, feeling that it really brought the campus together.

“It makes me really sad because it’s such an icon, and now you cant even see it,” said sophomore political science and historic preservation major Sarah Miller. “It’s such an integral part of the community that it’s really sad not to be able to see it, this area is really sad and harsh looking.”

Many students had questions regarding what was being done to the fountain.

“It’s kinda sad seeing it behind a fence,” said senior biology major Matt Smith. “But they are supposed to work on the pipes underneath it, right?”

UMW Capital Outlay Project Manager Jay Sullivan explained that the work being done on the fountain is for a variety of reasons. New pumps, plumbing, electric, LED lights, light controller and other electrical sensors are all in the works. These changes could mean that in the future the fountain will light up at night, which could make the fountain a more popular photo spot then it already is. 

The construction is planned to be complete by the beginning of May, before graduation for the class of 2021. For seniors looking to take photos or have one last jump into the fountain, hope remains. 

“If it gets it up and running I’ll be happy,” said senior marketing major Tucker Gorski. “I want it to be done before I graduate.”

Many upperclassmen have fond memories of their time with the fountain, such as junior Hope Baker jumping in with her shoes on after a game of Dungeons and Dragons, and junior Harper Cowen ordering Vocelli’s to be delivered right to the fountain after a night of hanging out there with her friends.

However, since the construction began this year, it seems that freshmen are missing the opportunity to form similar memories. 

“I’m pretty neutral to it because I’m a freshman,” said Nate Huff. “I haven’t really experienced life with it.”

Some students didn’t seem to notice that the fountain was blocked off at all.

“I actually didn’t know it was under construction until about a minute ago,” said sophomore conservation biology Macenzie Dixon. “I mean it definitely needed it, so I’m all for it.

Other students acknowledged that the fountain needed some work.

“As a historic preservationist, I think it’s good.” said freshman historic preservation major Calvin Harned, regarding the renovation. “I think it is necessary to have that in order for other people to enjoy it.”

“It’s maybe not a bad thing,” said junior history major Haley Alders. “I noticed when I used to sit there all the time studying and doing homework that there were some things I thought needed to be repaired because of how old it is, so it might be a good thing to get it renovated, it is a popular hangout spot for everyone.”

Some students formed memories with the fountain from even before they attended UMW. Freshman Shelby Tucker grew up in Fredericksburg and always played in the fountain when she was younger. Now that she’s a student, she doesn’t have the opportunity. 

Although some freshmen may have missed out on a year of making memories by the fountain, once the construction is completed, the timeless attraction will continue to provide joy for years to come, both to those on campus and off.

Follow me on Twitter