Fountain plaza project to begin in May

Schematic of design for fountain plaza project.

This concept design shows the new walkways and seating areas planned for the area north of the Memorial Union. Submitted image.

Next month, the plaza around Iowa State's iconic Fountain of Four Seasons will begin its transformation into a more colorful, welcoming area. The work is part of President Steven Leath's campus beautification initiative and will complement the engraved nameplate wall installed last year on the north side of Union Drive.

No change of 'Seasons'

The beautification project will change the look and landscape around the Fountain of the Four Seasons, and does not include any work on the fountain itself.

"This is the heart of campus -- a highly used area that needs to handle large groups and individuals," said Rhonda Martin, landscape architect in facilities planning and management.

During the construction phase, crews will remove the existing concrete and replace it with pavers and sidewalks that add pedestrian access from the east and west. Four cast stone benches will ring the fountain, with another two placed near the bus stop.

Campus services staff will plant hundreds of perennials and shrubs, and sod will be placed when the irrigation system is installed. Martin expects the project to be completed under the budgeted $462,500.

"The changes will provide more options for seating and more options for entering the fountain area," Martin said. "The landscaping will complement the beauty of the campus, adding layers of interest and providing year-round color -- transforming the lawn into a garden-like space to engage students, families, visitors and the university community."


Fences will be installed around the project work site on May 9. The Memorial Union's north doors will remain open and accessible from the east and west walkways. Construction work is projected to wrap up by mid-July, leaving time for installation of the plant material and irrigation system. The goal is to have the landscaping established and ready prior to the start of fall semester.

"This is a big project," Martin said. "It requires planting time and it needs to be ready when the students arrive."