By Kalli Damschen
Fountain Mall will finally have a fountain, now that renovations are underway on Fountain Mall and Fifth Street.
The renovations will include improvements to the infrastructure along the closed section of Fifth Street from the Bill Daniel Student Center to the circular drive in front of the McMullen-Connally Faculty Center. In addition, a memorial fountain will be built on Fifth Street in front of Fountain Mall.
The infrastructure improvements include a new water line, sewer line and drainage system said Brian Nicholson, associate vice president for facilities, planning and construction.
An $8 million donation from Baylor alumnus Dr. Thomas J. Rosenbalm made the renovations possible. The donation and intended renovations were announced by the Baylor regents in July 2014.
Rosenbalm received his Bachelor of Science in biology and chemistry from Baylor in 1950 and his Master of Science in biology in 1951. He went on to earn his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston in 1955.
Rosenbalm is now a retired physician, and he made the donation in honor of his deceased parents.
The renovations will turn the closed-off area of Fifth Street into a more walkable, aesthetically pleasing plaza, but the road will still be able to support emergency vehicles and homecoming floats.
“The plan is to make it more pedestrian-friendly, make it look like it’s still a part of campus,” Nicholson said.
Fifth Street is a hot spot on campus, as students often traverse the area on the way to class or gather on Fountain Mall for sports, special events and other activities.
“With so many events that occur on Fifth Street, the new fountain will improve Baylor’s aesthetic quality,” said Waco junior Rolando Rodriguez.
Haslet junior Laura Mahler also thinks the Fountain Mall renovations will improve the appearance of the campus.
“I think it’ll be great to have a fountain in Fountain Mall again,” Mahler said. “It can only add to the beauty of Baylor’s campus.”
The construction began this month and is due to be finished by homecoming this fall.