Groveport School fountain to be refurbished

Photo courtesy of the Groveport Heritage Society
The Groveport Heritage and Preservation Society will fund the restoration of the historic fountain located in the courtyard of Groveport Elementary School.

The nearly 80-year-old historic fountain in the courtyard of Groveport Elementary will undergo repairs in early August thanks to funding from the Groveport Heritage and Preservation Society (GHPS).

The GHPS approved contracting with Poseidon Pool Company at a cost of $3,500 to refurbish the fountain.

According to information provided by Chip Jordan of Poseidon, the renovation work will entail: cleaning out loose debris from the interior; washing the fountain, most likely by hand to protect the surface; hand scraping of loose materials; patching interior surfaces with hydraulic cement; cutting a floor/wall joint to create a caulk joint; application of Ultrapoly One Coat paint – which will act more as a protective membrane than regular paint – to all interior surfaces; and installing a submersible pump. The work is expected to take a week to complete.

Speaking at the GHPS’ meeting of July 31, Jordan called the fountain restoration a "unique project" because he knows the fountain holds a special place in the "heart of the community."

"The key is to not be overly aggressive in the preparation," said Jordan noting the fragile nature of the old fountain. "We’ll proceed delicately."

Jordan added it is important a regular maintenance schedule be put in place to help preserve the fountain in the future. He also suggested plans should be made to extend proper electrical service to the fountain for the pump as well as a spigot to fill or replace water at the fountain when needed.

Groveport Madison appreciative

"We are very excited about fixing the fountain in front of Groveport Elementary," said Groveport Madison Schools Superintendent Scott McKenzie in a statement Aug. 1. "When it is working properly, it is a beautiful addition to the gardens that surround it. As a gift from the alumni of the first four classes, the fountain stands as a testimony honoring the education that those students received in that building and it represents in a very tangible way the link between the schools and the rich heritage of this community. With the fountain running and properly lighted, it will be a landmark and a destination for all who visit our community. We thank the members of the Groveport Heritage and Preservation Society for their perseverance in finding a company that would tackle the project and their financial gift that provides for the restoration. We look forward to strengthening the bond between the school system and the community that this partnership provides."

Fountain history

For the last 15 years or so, the fountain has been dry after it developed leaks as time and natural wear and tear silenced its waters.

"Many people don’t know the significance of this fountain," said Carla Cramer of the GHPS in an interview in May. "It represents part of our community identity and is a tangible link to those who have gone before us. I first learned about how the first four graduating classes donated the fountain to the school from my grandmother."

Though details of its origins are sketchy, the fountain is believed to have been constructed around 1929. It was given to the Groveport Madison school district by the first four graduating classes (1925, 1926, 1927, and 1928) to graduate from Groveport School (now Groveport Elementary). The three story red brick Groveport School, located on Groveport’s east Main Street, was built in 1923 and first opened for classes in 1924-25. The school housed all 12 grades for many years and replaced the former school that once sat on College Street near what is now Naomi Court.

Some sealing work was done on the fountain in the 1990s and for awhile its waters flowed and gurgled after being silent for several years. But over time the fountain’s walls, basin, and pillar base developed cracks from the years of use and weather and the fountain was shut down to stop the deterioration and the circulating pump removed.

A recent visual inspection of the fountain shows that the floor is solid and the pillars appear to be in good shape as well as much of the limestone and shale in the exterior wall.

About the Groveport School fountain

•The fountain is believed to have been built around 1929.

•The fountain was donated to the Groveport Madison School District by the first four graduating classes (1925, 1926, 1927, and 1928) to graduate from the Groveport School (now Groveport Elementary).

•The oval shaped fountain is 17 feet wide and 13 1/2 feet across at its exterior points. It is less than a yard deep at its deepest point, though, when operating, the water level is kept much lower.

•The fountain is made of limestone and shale with four stone pillars rising from its center.

•The four pillars represent the four graduating classes who donated the fountain and their year of graduation is etched into the base of the pillars along with the words "A memorial of gratitude from the first four classes to graduate from the Groveport Madison High School."

•Also etched into the base of the pillars are the words "Know Thyself" and "Knowledge is Power."

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