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N BRIGHT, SUNNY DAYS, STUDENTS IN THE 1970s sat outside Willis Library casually chatting and soaking their feet in the bubbling fountain between classes. Now, whispers have replaced the sound of babbling water.

When architects built the fountain in 1971, they centered it in the Library Mall as a place for students to congregate and study. But the fountain began to be used for other purposes — as a repository for soap bubbles and a bath for people and their dogs.

Throughout the 70s, students enjoyed the fountain in front of Willis Library.

When filters clogged and the bubbles became a problem, the campus engineer drained the fountain. Since 1980 it has been lined with rocks, and planters inside the concrete cylinder produce colorful flowers in the spring. In 1981, maintenance workers installed a light pole in the center, brightening the mall area.

Students have nicknamed the former fountain the “Whispering Well.” Its perfectly circular structure allows someone who whispers under the lip of the cylinder on one side to be heard on the other side.

Prospective students visit the spot on their campus tour and occasionally test out the acoustics.

NT40, a student organization that helps in the admissions, development, chancellor’s and president’s offices, is planning to build another fountain near the new Gateway Center now under construction.

“A fountain is a very collegiate type of architecture,” says Joel Daboub, NT40 adviser and senior assistant director of admissions.

“Many students would like to see something like that on our campus.”

The organization has worked for the last three years to raise funds for the project that may cost anywhere from $25,000 to $45,000.


 
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