Physical plant aspires to turn fountain back on

By Farah Bassyouni Apr 15, 2022

IWU’s legendary “aspiration fountain” was shut off in 2020, and just two weeks ago, was removed by Physical Plant workers. The fountain, located behind State Farm Hall, will be back to its former glory on April 15. 

The aspiration fountain holds a special place in the hearts of IWU students. Over the years, the sidewalk around the fountain has been part of “Turning Titan” orientation activities. New Titans wrote their hopes and “aspirations” for their time at IWU. 

Seniors use the same sidewalk to write their farewells and plans as they leave IWU and into the world on commencement day. This year’s seniors continue the tradition Sunday, May 1. 

“Vickie Folse has been guiding out steps to mitigate COVID-19 closely, and we [Physical Plant] were concerned about water droplets and spread,” Kenton Frost said, who is the Physical Plant maintenance manager. 

Frost explained that Physical Plant wanted to do what they thought was best, which was to shut off all water fountains including the aspiration fountain, and ice machines since 2020. 

Since March 2020, [water fountains] have been covered with plastic bags indicating that they should not be used in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 among you and others living in the community.” Associate Dean of Students, Kevin Carey said in an email on Monday, April 11. 

The aspiration fountain also had some mechanical issues that were beginning to surface. Since then, Physical Plant has been working on those issues and just two weeks ago they came to the consensus that it had to be completely removed. from the time it was built that just recently began to surface two weeks ago. 

“We found out that there was freezing and popping of piping, and frozen water got into the aspiration fountain. It was then that the fountain had to be fixed so that it could work every year after we shut it down in the winter,” Frost said. 

This is what determined that the fountain had to be fixed so that it could work every year after Physical Plant shuts it down in the winter. 

 As of Monday, April 11, Physical Plant has been working on turning all fountains including the aspiration fountain and ice machines back on. They did so by flushing down each of the water fountain water lines, and in the meantime students were able to use the hydration station located in their buildings. 

“We hope that the aspiration fountain gets the tender loving care and attention it deserves upon its arrival,” one Physical Plant employee said. 

Although IWU students might call the aspiration fountain legendary, it looks like we are not treating it to the degree it deserves with the reported littering and vandalism that was done on the sculpture. 

Frost said that you can find ice cream cones, some plastic, and the occasional beer can lying in there. And once, a Physical Plant employee said that she witnessed students shooting golf balls inside of it with their golf clubs from Magill Hall. 


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