Matthew Krauss, News Writer • firstname.lastname@example.org
Starting Homecoming weekend, the duck pond will have much-needed renovations changing the pond from the look it has had since 1951. Tentative plans incorporate a pavilion, bridge over the stream, brick-paved walkway, park benches and a founder’s plaza which tells the school’s history. The faculty has produced a finished product which is aesthetically pleasing and fits with alumni requests to preserve the original atmosphere of the duck pond.
The founder plaza provides visitors with the college’s history. Director of Spiritual Life Sharon Wright remembers an experience freshman year where “my Psy 101 professor asked what important event that happened in the county in 1836. No one knew that this event was the college’s founding.” The duck pond is located on a natural spring where a pump house once stood that provides all the water to campus. This pumphouse is the reason E&H exists at this location which is why the founder’s plaza will be located here.
The project was funded by donors. Joseph Taylor works in the Office of Advancement and helped manage funding efforts. He said, “Donors of certain amounts can have bricks placed in their name. We have received $700,000 in funds surpassing our $600,000 goal.”
Wright, as an alumnus, helped with the funds. She said, “My sorority Delta Rho Delta chipped together to buy a brick. It was neat seeing multiple generations work together.”
A pavilion and gazebo will be added, intended for important events for student and outside groups. The duck pond location is already used by many for photo-ops because the spot is iconic to the community. Wright herself remembers “taking my two children for their baby pictures at the duck pond.”
Molly Henry visited the duck pond for her first nine years because her father was the library’s director. They would “feed bread from the cafeteria to the duck” and in the spring “try to sneak up on the baby ducklings without the mother’s noticing.” Now an adult with children of her own Molly has found the duck pond an “idyllic place she can share with her daughter.”
Plans for the renovation have changed multiple times. Originally the bell on the front porch of Wiley Hall was going to be hung in a bell tower. This tower originally did sit in a tower and signaled class changes. The Save the Duck Pond website includes plans for a founder’s fountain but this aspect has been abandoned. According to the 2017 February alumni news email the bell tower and size of the gazebo were modified to conform with alumni’s requests.
The most important group affected by the construction are the ducks themselves. They will not be hurt by the brief disturbance of their habitat because they are wild. Some of them have already moved to nearby streams to avoid construction. They will all eventually leave when the pond is drained.
The pond will have a path circling the duck pond. This will commemorate Ashley Nicole Langbein, a 2016 alumnus who passed away this January. Her parents were instrumental in pushing forward the renovations, hoping to help others enjoy even more a spot where Ashley like hanging out.
Pond renovations will be a drastic improvement to the structure of the pond. The pond is built on old railroad tracks and because of this loose structure the pond’s walls are falling down. The foundation was made worse by the power tools used in attempts to clean the pond’s bottom of mud and aquatic plants. The new walls will have foundation dug further underground and reinforced with cement.
Taylor is confident in the project’s success and focused vision. He said he believes “the newly renovated pond will last a century. The pond hopefully will be finished by founder’s day, though it may be being closer to graduation or Ampersand Day.”