Tradition-Linked Fountain To Receive Face-Lift
for immediate release June 12, 1998The GATA Fountain, an aging centerpiece of the Abilene Christian University campus, will be on its way to looking more like a fountain of youth again Monday, June 15.
Demolition and rebuilding of the fountain, which has weathered the West Texas elements and student pranks for 28 years, will begin at 9 a.m. with a groundbreaking ceremony. Participating will be both student and alumni members of GATA, the women's social club which donated funds for the original fountain in 1970 and for the current renovation.
The club donated the fountain in celebration of its 50th anniversary, as a part of the campus beautification program. It is located between the Brown Library and the McGlothlin Campus Center in the central mall area of campus.
To celebrate its 75th anniversary at Homecoming in 1995, GATA presented the university with a check for part of its commitment toward the improvement of the GATA Fountain. University officials agreed to contribute half of the $35,000 renovation cost if the club raised the other half.
Headed by Dewby Ray, a 1950 ACU graduate of Abilene, the GATA alumnae have conducted a letter-writing campaign to raise money for the gift, which should be complete by the middle of July. Ray said the alumnae wanted to give something that would benefit the campus.
GATA is the oldest women's social club at ACU and was established in 1920 by a group of eight women. Since then, GATA has grown to be one of the largest social clubs on campus. The fountain has also become the object of several campus traditions including students throwing in their friends on their birthdays or filling it with detergent. Ray said the new design should be easier to maintain and more difficult to vandalize.
The new fountain was designed by architect Jack Harkins of Tittle Luther Partnership of Abilene and will be constructed in house by ACU maintenance employees led by Byron Patterson, director of the ACU Central Plant. The project should take six-eight weeks.
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