sealPurdue News

April 16, 2001

Fountains' flow to be limited while Purdue explores safety options

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University will operate two campus fountains only for special events and under close supervision while it looks for a solution to public safety and liability problems.

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Kenneth P. Burns, executive vice president and treasurer, told the University Senate today (Monday, 4/16) that he has accepted the recommendation of the Senate's 11-member Architecture and Landscape Design and Planning Committee concerning the water sculpture on the Purdue Mall and Loeb Fountain in Founders Park.

Burns said the committee, which met last week, acknowledged there are safety concerns with the fountain and promised to work with administrators and representatives of the campus and community to explore the issue.

"They will select a group of faculty, staff, students and community members to consider the issues of safety, aesthetics and interaction with the fountains," Burns said. "In the meantime, we will not put up railings. We will follow the committee's recommendation that we keep the water turned off except for special events, such as commencement, and monitor the fountains for safety while the water is flowing."

No timetable has been established yet for a final decision. He added: "I hope we can find a solution that resolves the safety and liability concerns while allowing maximum enjoyment of the fountains. However, it's important that everyone understand there will be changes. We cannot go back to the practice of operating the fountains without any safety measures. For the time being, limited operation seems to be the best compromise."

Last week, Purdue announced plans to use railings to discourage people from playing in the fountains. Burns said the 42-inch-high safety railing remains a possibility, but the university is open to other ideas that would provide adequate protection.

The Purdue Mall water sculpture, a gift of the class of 1939, was dedicated in 1989 and jets upward 588 gallons of recycled water per minute. The Loeb Fountain was dedicated in 1994 and uses 2,200 gallons of recycled water per minute.

Source: Kenneth P. Burns, (765) 494-9705;

Writer: Jeanne V. Norberg; (765) 494-2084;

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

A rendering of a design by John Collier, Purdue University landscape architect, for Purdue's Class of '39 water sculpture on the Purdue Mall. The ornamental railing was designed to prevent possible injuries to children. Construction on railings at both the water sculpture and the Loeb Fountain at Founder's Park have been postponed pending recommendations from a committee. (Illustration by John Collier)
A publication-quality photograph is available at the News Service Web site and at the ftp site. Photo ID: Collier.fence2

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