Administration makes plans to build fountain, plaza


Imagine a wooded area. Paths and low walls stretch between Milner Hall and Founders Hall, a cool mist floating through the air between.

This will soon be the Joseph M. Bryan Jr. Plaza, a small wooded area to be built largely around a 30 feet by 30 feet water feature with 40 natural stones scattered in a circular sitting area.

The water feature is patterned after Harvard’s Tanner Fountain and will recycle its water supply.

“I’m always screaming for more places for students to hang out,” said Dean of Students Aaron Fetrow. “It’s kind of a cool gathering space.”

The plan is to have the project completed in time for move-in day this fall.

“The plaza will be 100 percent gift-funded,” said President and Professor of Political Science Kent Chabotar. “No money’s coming out of tuition payments. It’s a restricted gift. You take it or you don’t.”

The gift is from the Joseph M. Bryan Foundation, the same donor that was responsible for the Joseph M. Bryan Jr. Auditorium in Frank Science Center. The donation is split between the Joseph M. Bryan Jr. Plaza and the Center for Principled Problem Solving.

“Joseph Bryan has had a lot of influence on the project,” said Chabotar. “He asked for the trees. Joe’s got a great sense of style and aesthetics.”

“We’ve been talking about this water fountain for about 1 1/2 to 2 years,” said Fetrow. “We were asking: would it be a good student space?”

“The gift was fortuitous,” said Chabotar. “The removal of the road between Milner and Founders has been part of Guilford’s Campus Master Plan since 2005–2006.”

Fetrow’s office windows look out onto this road.

“I think this is the ugliest part of campus,” said Fetrow. “Kent has enjoyed ribbing me about that, saying I’ll have the best office on campus.”

But what is most important is how the project will affect students.

“That will be great,” said sophomore Milner resident Ezra Fleishman. “People drive stupidly there.”

Some have questioned how this plaza fits into the College’s Quaker heritage and the value of simplicity.

“From my perspective as a Quaker I’m glad that it’s more natural, and not as ostentatious,” said Fetrow. “Just because we are Quaker doesn’t mean we can’t have nice things.”

A total of $32 million has been spent on renovations over the last 11 years. Chabotar hopes this will provide students with another on-campus site to hang out.

“I’m kind of looking forward to it,” said Chabotar. “It will be fun. I think it will become a huge gathering spot.”