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Sustainability has become the key to refilling the UTSA Sombrilla Fountain. The fountain will be retrofitted to run on excess water from air conditioning systems in neighboring buildings. This water, referred to as gray water, will allow the fountain to run year round without wasting water drawn from the Edwards Aquifer.

Beginning this week, the UTSA Office of Facilities will begin repairs to the Sombrilla Fountain in front of the John Peace Library (JPL). The fountain has been dry since 2011 as a result of drought restrictions on public fountains.

In order to support renovations, the UTSA Development Office launched a “Fill the Fountain” campaign with a goal to raise $300,000. The UTSA Alumni Association and the UTSA Green Fund have given $150,000 to the project. University supporters have been invited to donate $10,000.

Repairs are expected to be complete by Jan. 13 of next year.

On Nov. 16 and 17, the fountain will undergo sandblasting to remove existing pool plaster and allow for repairs to the pump system. A six-foot-high chain-link fence currently encloses the construction area. Surrounding tables and patio areas will not be disturbed.

The high cost of repairs did not go unnoticed by students. The hashtag #for$300kthefountainbetter was trending on Twitter this past week with students filling in satirical suggestions for what the fountain should contain such as, “#for$300kthefountainbetter turn water into wine.”

On Tuesday Nov. 12, the Fill the Fountain campaign will be holding an event at the Sombrilla Fountain for students to learn about the project and give donations.

“It is a campus legend that the Sombrilla fountain is lucky,” Marjie French, UTSA vice president for external relations told UTSA Today. “As the story goes, if a student puts both their hands on the fountain while it is running, they will ace their upcoming exams. Today’s Roadrunners deserve the opportunity to put the legend to the test. It’s time to bring this tradition back.”

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