UCF’s Iconic Reflecting Pond to Undergo Renovation
The most scenic feature on the UCF campus – the Reflecting Pond – is getting a facelift.
Over nearly a half-century, the iconic Reflecting Pond has been treasured by generations of Knights. It’s been the backdrop for countless graduation photos, the centerpiece of Spirit Splash, and even hosted a U.S. president delivering a commencement address.
Earlier this year, the pond’s aging underground pipes sprung several leaks. And heavy rains during Hurricane Irma caused runoff that damaged some its electrical controls. The renovation will correct those problems, as well as modernize the Reflecting Pond’s technology and features.
The university has embarked on a plan that will ensure the Reflecting Pond continues to function for future generations for decades to come. A comprehensive renovation will repair the pond’s concrete surface, plumbing and filtration, upgrade its lighting to color-changing LEDs, and add more efficient fountain pumps.
Repairs have been made in the past, including a renovation in 2000 that replaced the pond’s single small spout with three fountains.
The pond was drained after Spirit Splash and will remain dry until the latest renovation is done, which is expected to be in May. Engineers and contractors are now in the planning and permitting stage. When construction begins, the Reflecting Pond will be fenced off for safety reasons.
There was once a natural pond where the Reflecting Pond now sits. It was often dried up, but after a rain it would turn into a muddy pit several feet deep. UCF’s first president, Charles Millican, solved the problem by turning the eyesore into the campus’ prettiest feature.
Construction of the Reflecting Pond was completed in 1970, around the same time Millican Hall opened. It measures 182 by 20 feet at its widest points, and holds 228,000 gallons.
It has had auspicious moments over the years. In the university’s early days, the water was drained and replaced with chairs for graduation ceremonies, and that’s where students sat when President Richard Nixon delivered a commencement address in 1973.
Spirit Splash started unofficially in 1995, when the president of the Student Government Association was pushed into the Reflecting Pond and cabinet members followed. The homecoming event was named “Best Campus Tradition” by the National Association for Campus Activities in 2011 and this year ESPN’s Will Reeve took a nationally televised dip with our students.