In the race to fill the Storke Plaza reflecting pool, it’s Mother Nature 2.5″, UCSB 0″.
Despite the torrential downpour Thursday, the reflecting pool will remain empty for quite a while. A broken water pipe leading into the pool forced university maintenance officials to drain it prior to the beginning of Fall Quarter.
The problem became apparent when water began bubbling up through the concrete in front of the University Art Museum, located adjacent to Storke Plaza. Plans to repair the pipe have been complicated because the pipe lies below a design in the concrete that was installed as part of the museum’s remodeling.
The reluctance to break up the design and the university’s view of the non-essential nature of the reflecting pool means the pipe will not be fixed in the near future, University Maintenance Supervisor Robert Wright said.
“It’s not even in our scope of repairs right now,” he said.
The design was installed as part of the $3 million Art Museum remodeling project completed in spring 2000. Made from colored concrete with inlayed rocks and metal, the design depicts a mathematical phenomenon called a Fibonacci Sequence, which consists of decreasing sized rectangles with a line passing through the corners forming a spiral. The sequence appears naturally in snail shells and cauliflower.
The reflecting pool has faced problems prior to the broken pipe, mainly from birds that take up residence there when the pool is full, said Associate Director of Operations and Maintenance George Lewis.
“The water attracts the birds, and they can make quite a mess, as we all know,” he said. “Beyond making the pool unattractive, they can become a health hazard.”
Officials have tried numerous methods to keep the birds away, including testing predator birds similar to those used at the county dump.
“It was amazing,” Wright said. “They let that one little predator bird go, and all the [seagulls] just took off. But they were just too expensive.”
Wright does not recall the cost of the birds, but said it was enough “to knock you down.”
When full, the pool creates a full reflection of Storke Tower that is best viewed from the benches at the south end of the pool. Many students use the area for studying or relaxing between classes.
“I wish they would fill it,” junior political science major Steve Marvin said. “It looks cool when it’s full, and it’s a nice place to sit and read.”