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S.255A – Water Dome, Lakeland, Florida

 

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

 

Photographed in 1995, and on February 6, 2010, July 17, 2011, March 21, 2012, October 6, 2012 & October 18. 2012.  The original plan for the campus included a fountain – the Water Dome – as a centerpiece between the administration buildings and the Seminars.  Wright designed it to have a copper pipe around the rim, from which water would be forced to create a perfect half-globe. The design didn’t work.  When the fountain was completed in 1948, it had a single fountain in the center which never could match Wright’s vision. 

 

When the new library was built in 1968, the Water Dome was threatened with destruction.  Since the fountain had never delivered sufficient water pressure to live up to Wright’s dreams, so it was converted to three smaller ponds/fountains, still framed by the original steps leading up to the structure.  Most of the Water Dome was then filled in, and paved over as a pedestrian plaza (named the J. Edgar Wall Plaza).

 

In 2006, plans were unveiled to restore the Water Dome to its original splendor (actually, to better than before).  The original cost $15,000 to build, while the restoration cost between $700,000 and $1 million.  The plaza was unearthed, and the original dimensions of the 160-foot-diameter fountain restored.  New technology allowed for sufficient water pressure to reach a 45-foot apex of water.  When the Dome is operating, it generally produces 50% pressure to deliver a shape described by many as a “bundt cake.” 

 

On rare occasions – about four times a year – the pumps are cranked up to 100% power and they deliver the full dome Wright had intended.  My photographs of October 18, 2012 depict one of those rare events.

 

The fountain returned to service in October 2007.

 

On a sunny day, you will see multiple rainbows.  The 74 water jets put on shows at various times throughout the day, ranging from 30 minutes to slightly more than an hour.  The height of the water fluctuates as part of a simple show.  Consult the college’s website for times, or watch for the signs posted near the administration buildings. 

 

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October 18, 2012 photos – pumps at 100% power

 

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February 6, 2010 photos

 

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The current Roux library is shown in the background – it is the project that caused the Water Dome to be filled with earth in 1968

 

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Water Dome “at rest,” with Fine Administration Building in background

 

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Even when the Water Dome was filled in, the steps shown between the lawn and the fountain remained intact

 

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July 17, 2011 photos

 

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March 21, 2012 photos

 

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October 6, 2012 photo

 

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1995 photos – views of Edgar Wall Plaza and smaller fountains instead of Water Dome

 

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FLORIDA SOUTHERN COLLEGE

 

 

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Pfeiffer Chapel

 

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Fine Admin. Bldg.

 

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Watson Admin. Bldg.

 

 

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Danforth Chapel

 

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Roux Library/ Buckner

 

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Ordway Bldg.

 

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Seminar Bldgs. (3)

 

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Polk Science Bldg.

 

 

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Water Dome

 

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Esplanades

 

New 02/26/2010

Revised 10/18/2012

 

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