The University of Alabama plans to build a $1.8 million fountain in the courtyard of Shelby Hall. Once built, the pentagonal courtyard will feature a circular fountain with a surrounding area of vegetation and seeding.
Dan Wolfe, UA planner and designer, said the project was started to give students more areas to congregate and hang out.
“We want to accent that area, which is such a great place. The Shelby quad is great because no cars are visible and there is little noise due to construction and passing cars,” Wolfe said. “It is a great and friendly space for people to hang out, and it also gives us the opportunity to create more people space on campus. We want campus to be a nice and friendly environment.”
Wolfe also said the fountain is a response to increased recruiting and part of the Campus Master Plan building strategy, which, according to the 2012 Campus Master Plan Update, “unifies the campus as a complete learning environment, interwoven into a gracious and hospitable setting that nurtures the soul and inspires the mind.”
“Certainly as we intend to grow, we need more opportunities for people to be able to come together,” Wolfe said. “It is also a part of the Campus Master Plan. Shelby Hall is the largest academic space we have ever added to the campus at one time, and we want to add on to the places where people can hang out on that part of campus.”
Unlike the Ferguson Center fountain, the Shelby fountain project is more traditional in architecture to better accent the traditional architectural style of Shelby Hall.
“With the Ferg fountain, we wanted untraditional. The architect worked with a fountain design company and with our collective input we came up with the Ferg fountain. We didn’t want to have a raised concrete fountain, but also not a large pool of water at the base,” Wolfe said. “With the Shelby fountain we wanted traditional, we have designed a circular fountain with a raised bed of seeding and landscaping around it. All the way across it will almost be as big as the Shelby Hall rotunda.”
Wolfe said the Shelby Hall fountain project costs the University a total of $1.8 million.
“It is tied into a number of other projects, such as lighting, landscaping and the fountain itself,” Wolfe explained. “The entire project does cost $1,800,000 in total though.”
Morgan Long, a graduate student in the romance languages program, said she thought the money could be better spent elsewhere.
“Engineering and science have experienced major updates in terms of technology and facilities but A&S programs at UA are exponentially larger than other programs and we are being left behind. B.B. Comer is the home to the Department of Modern Languages and Classics, a department which most students are required to take at least two classes, there are rooms which still do not have access to the same technology,” Long said. “Some classrooms still even have chalk boards. Ten Hoor is only just now getting an update and look at the amount of students who have passed through that building. That money could be used better elsewhere.”
Mark Edwards, a graduate student in the electrical engineering program, has no problem with the new additions and beautification of campus.
“My office is in the new South Engineering Research Center and that is only a few years old. We also have a number of new buildings and even a new construction which is attached to H.M. Comer,” Edwards said. “Having new additions and areas to hang out on our side of campus will definitely help with recruitment and give people a greater enjoyment in just being in the science and engineering side of campus, especially to younger students.”
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