The Dalton Trumbo Fountain

When we were hired to rehabilitate the Dalton Trumbo Fountain (located in front of the Memorial Center on the CU Boulder campus), it had been dry for nearly two years due to drought and maintenance problems. Named after a CU alum filmmaker and free-speech advocate, the fountain had served as a focal point of the campus for the past four decades, and our goal was to make the fountain plaza an active, aesthetic gathering space for students, faculty, and visitors once again. 

The concept for the renovation was to maintain the integrity of the original plaza design as a gathering and event space, while improving the maintainability of the fountain. Improvements included replacing the existing pool of water and jets with a raised floor of decorative colored concrete pavers and 12 new flush-mounted jets. The jets are programmable to shoot water skyward in various patterns and in heights of 3-10'. The water then drains through the paver joints into a subsurface drain and is re-circulated into a new mechanical system, leaving no standing water. The existing steps leading down into the fountain area have been maintained, as they serve as popular seating areas for plaza users throughout the year. Because the plaza is designated as a campus "free-speech area," the new fountain will also serve as a site for campus events such as speeches and rallies. When the water is turned off, the fountain floor is designed to support the weight of a group of people. 

Budget constraints delayed the construction schedule, much to the dismay of students wanting to enjoy the plaza in the summer of 2003. The Department of Facilities Management was determined to see the fountain operational again, however, and collected funds from departments all over campus to make the project happen.