The Free Press, Mankato, MN

April 28, 2013

Plenty of construction projects await end of spring semester at MSU

By Amanda Dyslin
Free Press Staff Writer

MANKATO — Feelings seem to be mixed at Minnesota State University regarding the aesthetic value of the mall’s iconic fountain.

Ben Johnson best summed up one side of the informal poll: “It’s kind of ugly.”

Alex Miller represented the other side: “Campus wouldn’t be the same without it.”

MSU will be making both parties a little happier at the close of spring semester when work begins on replacing the iconic fountain, which has significant infrastructure problems that are causing “an enormous amount of water to leak (to) the surrounding ground and saturating it,” according to a news release from MSU.

The project includes replacing the concrete deck and failing mechanical and electrical systems, but preserves and restores its appearance to the original design as the 1964 “World’s Fair Fountain of Progress.”

Following the May 13 to Aug. 9 project, the restored fountain will have a reflecting pool surrounded by a low retaining wall, working lights and automated spray control.

“Cool,” Johnson said succinctly and approvingly.

The fountain project is just one of many improvements being made on campus this summer.

With any luck, by the time the snow flies in the fall, MSU students studying hard in the library won’t even have to put their coats on when they want to head over to Centennial Student Union for some grub.

The “Library to CSU Underground Pedestrian Link,” to be completed May 13 through Oct. 15, is heavily supported by students, said Laurie Woodward, director of the student union.

“Our students sure think it’s a good idea,” Woodward said. “They’re excited about the connection between the student union and library, (going) back and forth when it’s cold out.”

Students are also excited about the addition of the amphitheater, she said. The walkway is going to be enclosed and underground on one side, but the side facing the parking lot will be dug out and be a daylight walkway. There will be a grass ramp built up along that side creating an outdoor amphitheater where bands, speakers and other entertainers will perform.

Here’s a look at the other projects and timelines: