Denver airport fountain to be removed |

Denver airport fountain to be removed

Jeffrey Leib
The Denver Post
DIA turned off the fountain in the center of the terminal in March of 2009 after it was found to be leaking. Matt Chasansky, Public Art Administrator for DIA says thousands of dollars are spent to maintain the fountain including the thousands of water spouts underneath mats on the fountain floor. After consideration by the city and the airport, the fountain will be removed and replaced with a new art installation. The pump room on the floor below is also needed for the extension of the train. The fountain is public art, so there must be public hearings on the change. Kathryn Scott Osler, The Denver Post

It has collected more than $2,000 in pennies and other coins annually – and countless wishes – but Denver International Airport officials say the large water fountain in the middle of the terminal’s fifth level has got to go.

Denver’s Commission on Cultural Affairs recently approved plans to remove the water feature, an art installation called Mountain Mirage, so DIA can extend the underground train that links the terminal with the concourses.

The fountain was turned off in March 2009 when sensors showed a leak in the basin lining of the project, said Matt Chasansky, DIA’s public-art administrator.

Even if the airport wanted to try to repair the fountain, its pump room, adjacent to the fourth-level train platform where passengers now get on cars for the concourses, would have to be moved to make way for the train extension, Chasansky said. The extension will add carrying capacity for the train.

Moving the pump room could cost $5 million, he said. “Early this year, we decided that the most reasonable course was to request that the fountain be removed. It wasn’t a reasonable use of airport funds.”

Mountain Mirage, designed by California artist Douglas Hollis, was to be turned on when the airport opened in 1995, but technical problems delayed its launch by about three years, according to a recent assessment of the project by the cultural commission.

The fountain contains 3,100 nozzles, “each adjusted to a specific height” to create “a shimmering representation of a mountain range,” yet the water feature had problems from the start, the commission said.

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