Atlanta, Georgia

GSU Hurt Park Fountain

The “Fountain of Light” Renovation

Downtown Atlanta has a small, triangular shaped park that sits adjacent to the Georgia State University Campus. The most notable feature of the park is its iconic ‘Fountain of Light’, an imposing fountain designed by Atlanta sculptor Julian Harris and presented to the city through the Emily and Ernest Woodruff Foundation in 1940. Atlanta’s Hurt Park and its iconic fountain have been fixtures in the city’s downtown for more than eight decades. Hurt Park was designed by the notable landscape architect William C. Pauley and was among downtown Atlanta’s most popular attractions throughout the 1940s and 1950s. However, time had taken its toll and the entire park, and its fountain, recently underwent an extensive renovation that was completed in August of 2022, including a full-scale fountain renovation by Fountain People.

In particular, the park’s star attraction, the ‘Fountain of Light’, had fallen into extreme disrepair and Fountain People was thrilled when called in by HGOR Landscape Architects to help bring the fountain back to its previous glory. The vintage fountain and surrounding park were badly in need of a complete renovation. Over the past 10 years, the fountain’s mechanics no longer functioned. Additionally, the plantings around the fountain were filled with litter turning the once beloved park into an eye-sore that no longer attracted visitors.

Because of its location, both the city of Atlanta and the University had an interest in bringing the fountain back to its former glory. The landscape architecture firm worked closely with Georgia State University and Fountain People to both restore the water feature structure, redesign its perimeter and replace the mechanical and electrical equipment in order to get the fountain back in working order. Fortunately, the city of Atlanta and Georgia State University were committed to recreating this beautiful urban space and recapturing the fountain’s original magic. The project team carefully undertook the effort using modern technology and construction methods to express the original design intent.

In the renovation of the fountain, the goal was to replicate the original fountain spray effect as much as possible. However, it didn’t have to be an exact historical restoration replication of the fountain, so Fountain People included new upgrades like LED lighting and color changing capability. In fact, a custom spray ring with vertical shooting water was created. The main challenge with this renovation was to determine a piping and conduit plan that would utilize the existing structural penetrations, while maximizing flow rates, and then building the new spray rings and fountain jets to line up with the existing structure

For this particular fountain there are multiple stainless steel spray rings that were created. These include a 5ft spray ring, a 7ft spray ring, and a center jet that shoots water 18ft into the air for a classic effect. An additional 58 free standing colored LED light fixtures were also included to illuminate the water in a variety of colors. 

The park’s grand re-opening took place on Aug 22, 2022 with a host of city and university officials and local residents. The project drew praise for recapturing a beautiful part of the city’s past.