The new, sculptural fountain in front of the LBJ Student Center is a vast improvement over its old, waterless predecessor. Now, it would be appropriate to make other smart improvements throughout Texas State.
The old water fountain was a disappointing sight in front of the university’s most important building. For the most part, the rectangle-shaped fountain was empty and dirty. The few times it had water were the times masses of prospective students came to visit the campus. It is surprising such a displeasing monument lasted as long as it did. Sadly, there are many other areas around the university needing improvements. It is important to recognize these displeasing sights and advocate for their enhancement.
The first area that could use some decorative improvement is Taylor-Murphy History. The history building, constructed in the Spanish colonial style, is one of the most aesthetically pleasing buildings in the university. However, the building’s open patio, surrounded by classrooms, has much more potential. The patio currently has a small fountain, a few benches and some unflattering plants. The area has the potential to be more comfortable and have stronger and more appealing vegetation. It could be a place for students to gather and study or relax, all in the middle of the green scenery. During university tours, prospective students are told of Taylor-Murphy’s inner patio. The myth matches little with the truth, since students rarely stay more than a few minutes in the area. With some remodeling, the patio could become a stronger student attraction, particularly for relaxation and studying.
Derrick is another place needing some important improvements. It is an example of many buildings in Texas State that need to be remodeled. The building is a maze of hallways, half-hallways and stairs. It must be one of the few buildings in the world to have a ‘middle’ floor between the first and second. A random student could enter the building through the first floor and somehow exit through another completely different floor. Therefore, the building needs some important improvements. A complete re-construction would certainly be too expensive. However, some restructuring in Derrick could help improve its confusing floor plan. This would result in a more efficient academic building that might aid students in their education.
In the spirit of Texas State pride, it is also important to try to represent the notion in monuments. The new fountain in LBJ is a major improvement over the embarrassing fountain there was before. However, it does not seem to have a strong correlation with Texas State. The new fountain is supposed to represent the San Marcos River. Although the river is important to Texas State, the university does not revolve around it. Perhaps a sculpture that could be more closely identified with Texas State should have been installed. Instead, we have curve planks that represent the river but look more like mermaids slashed in half, the fins left hanging in front of LBJ to warn visitors. The fact is there needs to be a greater regard for creating statues, fountains or posters that show a greater Texas State spirit.
The new fountain is an important improvement for Texas State. It took a disappointing sight and replaced it with something better. However, there are other places that either have greater potential or need renovation. In the aftermath of this new fountain, Texas State should look at improving other locales.