Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
We inform. You decide.
Tuesday, November 29, 2022

UF student proposes musical, LED fountain for remodeled Reitz Union

A UF student wants to give the Reitz Union fountain a makeover — complete with rotating fountainheads that move to music and shoot colored water up to 60 feet in the air.

Clint Ferguson, a 20-year-old UF business management sophomore, has joined ranks with student engineers to design and build what he calls the first hydrotechnic fountain system on a university campus.

Hydrotechnic fountains control elements such as water, lighting and sound to create synchronized shows. Ferguson said if the proposal is accepted, the Reitz fountain would have features like LED lights and waterproof sound systems for student-produced shows.

“By day, the pond would have a peaceful, pulsing fountain to give you something to drown out the cars and buses,” he said. “By night, there would be 30-minute, fully choreographed water shows with lasers and lights, all set to music.”

Ferguson said the project was inspired by World of Color, a show at Disney California Adventure Park.

He contacted the show’s production company in Fall 2012 about the cost of bringing a similar system to UF.

The companies told him it would cost $1 million. When he proposed the idea to the Reitz Union Board, members were supportive, but they told him to cut costs.

Ferguson decided to turn to student organizations to produce plans for the project’s five systems: lighting, hydraulics, electronics, software and sound.

Enver Rehmani, a 20-year-old UF mechanical engineering junior, signed on as the mechanical lead after Ferguson presented the idea during a Gator Robotics club meeting.

“My biggest challenge is finding published diagrams of projects similar to this to get ideas,” Rehmani said. “Disney didn’t publish any blueprints of the World of Color show, so I’m kind of on my own when it comes to finding the best way to make it work.”

Eric Schwartz, a UF engineering professor and Gator Robotics faculty adviser, said he’s worried about the fountain’s durability.

“I believe that it could be done, but I don’t know whether they have capabilities to do it right,” he said. “If they can make it work, that’s great. But will it work for a week, a month or seven years?”

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Alligator delivered to your inbox

Ferguson said he’s confident students will be able execute the project and save UF money.

By collaborating with students instead of big companies, he said, he expects to lower the budget to about $250,000. He is looking to finance the project through Student Government, alumni or corporate sponsors.

“We could have bought a fountain for $1 million, but if we build it as students, it is worth a lot more than that,” Ferguson said. “So we are able to cut the budget and showcase just what Gators are capable of.”

[A version of this story ran on page 1 on 3/18/2014 under the headline "Student proposes musical, LED fountain for remodeled Reitz"]

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Independent Florida Alligator has been independent of the university since 1971, your donation today could help #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2022 The Independent Florida Alligator and Campus Communications, Inc.