USC Fountain Gets Modern Makeover
By DENNIS DARROW The Pueblo Chieftain
A newer masonry technique may finally help the University of Southern Colorado protect its centerpiece Fountain Plaza against the elements.
Using a creative eye and the concrete-polymer mix PermaCrete, workers from Resurfacing Specialties of Aurora on Monday put the finishing touches on the fountain's new exterior.
The circle of tiles is actually one big mold of scarlet oak-colored PermaCrete fashioned over the fountain's original concrete skeleton, Resurfacing Specialties co-owner Ronald Beckner Jr said.
The finished product looks like a tile fountain, only there aren't any tiles to fall off, chip or crack, a perennial problem that prompted the university to re-tile on at least two prior occasions, he said. "They had been battling this problem on that fountain for years," Beckner said. "The tile through the weathering and the cold wasn't able to adhere to the concrete. It actually kept popping off."
By resurfacing the fountain with PermaCrete , "it still has the look that the donors want and the neat thing about this is it resists the freeze and thaw cycles," Beckner said.
The use of PermaCrete also allowed contractors to match the color to the fountain's original specifications. Prior tiles could only approximate the desired color.
Resurfacing Specialties pitched the use of PermaCrete after a friend of Beckner's from Pueblo alerted the company to the often-deteriorated condition of the USC fountain. The refinishing was completed in three weeks of good weather at a cost of $34,000. "It's cost effective," Beckner said. "We don't have to tear anything out and we've enhanced the look of it."
PermaCrete was first mass marketed starting about a decade ago but today contractors are still becoming more versed on its many uses, Beckner said.
The fountain was donated to the university in May 1987 by Pueblo attorney Tom Farley and the late Bret Kelly. The area was further enhanced with gardens in 1996 donated by Helen and the late Jerry Lindberg.