Fountain renovation will ‘elevate and bring sense of appeal to campus’: YCP president

By Kai O’Brien

THE YORK College of Pennsylvania fountain. It has served as a centerpiece for York College of Pennsylvania ever since the senior class provided the proceeds for its construction in October 1974. 

Since her arrival in July of 2013, school President Dr. Pamela Gunther Smith said that she has been pushing for a change. “It looks terrible,” she said. “We have a number of what I’d call iconic spaces on campus that everybody knows about …the rock is one. The fountain. The bridge over Tyler Run is another piece that people always relate. And Tyler Run itself where you kind of drive through. I think we’re one of the very few institutions or schools that everyone knows because you drive through the creek.

“But for the fountain … to be that iconic meeting place, it’s really in very bad shape. A sign of a healthy institution, I would say, is curb appeal and something that doesn’t look like you have a lot of deferred maintenance.”

It’s not just the school president who agrees that one of the campus’ iconic spots is in bad need of an upgrade.

“The fountain is cool and it’s in the middle of our campus,” said Ian Higgins, one of several students asked what they think about the fountain. Higgins is a sophomore majoring in sports management, “I don’t really take a look at it too much, but when I do, it usually looks pretty gross. I think it is a good idea to renovate the fountain, because it would show we care about our school.”

This reconstruction is a part of an overall project called Spartan Commons, which is included in the INVOLVE campaign. The Spartan Commons project is focused around the reconstruction of the Schmidt Library into a new learning commons for students, “the way you actually use it,” she told members of The Spartan staff. More on that project coming in a separate Spartan story.

As for the fountain, Gunter-Smith said the original plan was for the fountain project to be completed by this summer. “It didn’t work out that way, just in terms of working with the architect to get the plans drawn,” she said, adding that a fundraising campaign was held over the summer to raise money to cover the expense.

According to a story on the York College website, the Alumni Association contributed the first $75,000 to the fountain rejuvenation project. Shawn ’01 and Nicole ’00 Halsey added a $25,000 matching gift for other alumni that join them and contribute to the campaign.

The Halseys said in the story that the fountain represents a central part of students’ lives at YCP. “We hope that this initiative helps to bring friends and classmates together and that the fountain remains an everlasting symbol to all current and future students of their experience at York College of Pennsylvania,” they added.

For anyone wanting to donate, go to this link. If you would prefer to make your commitment by phone, or if you have questions, contact York College at (717) 815-6861 or email

With this new fountain, it is planned to be “more elevated and bring more of a sense of arrival to campus,” Gunther-Smith said. In addition to this, she plans on adding a small wall around the fountain to ensure safety and create spacing between it and the students walking around it. Seatings/step up areas will now also be available for any students that would like to sit closer to it. 

The words of the alma mater will be engraved in the steps.

The fountain has been an iconic spot on the York College campus since 1974. It’s time for a new one, President Pamela Gunter-Smith said.

As for the timetable, the goal now is to have it ready by late spring, Gunter-Smith told The Spartan earlier this week.

“My hope it will be done by commencement but I’m not sure,” she said. “Right now, it turns out it’s going to cost more than I think we should pay, so we’re trying to get the cost down.”

Kai O’Brien is a Mass Communications major. He also runs track and field and plays for the club lacrosse team as well. 

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