Students Repair East Liverpool Fountain

April 09, 2014

While striving to refurbish a broken fountain in the center of town, engineering students at the University of Mount Union are building the hope of a local community along the way.

The Passionate Pursuits project was given as an assignment through the Introduction to Engineering Analysis and Design course at Mount Union, taught by Dr. Hans Tritico. Tritico assigned the project in order to give students an opportunity to apply math, computer and design skills taught in the classroom to real life situations.

“We are able to recognize problems, research solutions, design a new product and put our ideas into action,” freshman civil engineering major Gretchen Dietz said. “We get a feel for the different positions engineers can take part in (technical, client contact, designing, writing, etc.) and work as a team to get the job done.”

After numerous conversations with the city engineer and various town leaders, Dietz proposed to refurbish a fountain in the center of her hometown, East Liverpool. The fountain currently serves as a spot for the town Christmas tree, but the fountain itself has not worked for many years.

While numerous project ideas were submitted, Dietz’ proposal stood out among the others.

“I think it’s one of those projects that has the potential to bring the students and community together,” Tritico said. “The students have spoken with city leaders, organized their efforts with the police and fire departments and are working in a hands-on way to use their liberal arts education.”

Although not a member of the class, sophomore mechanical engineering major Nathan Lorah has volunteered his time and skill set to assist Dietz and her team. Lorah feels a close tie to the project as he too is from East Liverpool.

“I am glad to be a part of beautifying my hometown and am proud to help in any way I can,” Lorah said.

Other students involved in the project include Tom Mohney, a sophomore of East Liverpool; AJ Hampton, a freshman of Roanoke, VA; Mikaela Dombrowski, a freshman of Streetsboro, OH; Sam Creque, a freshman of Mantua, OH and Iven Chaqueco, a freshman of Fairview Park, OH.

Lorah’s father also joined in on the group effort and encouraged his company of employment, Heritage Thermal Systems, to support the students with a grant to cover the costs of supplies needed.

With the concern of funding out of the way, Dietz’ biggest worry is that the East Liverpool community will not be as enthusiastic as the students are about the project. Her biggest incentive behind refurbishing the fountain is bringing the community together as a whole, reviving the pride the town once had.

“I want us to be the spark that ignites the flame in a change of East Liverpool,” Dietz said. “I think we owe it to everyone to start a new beginning in the town and show that people do care. It shows a lot to have a group of students, the majority of which have never even heard of East Liverpool, to put forth effort to help the city.”

East Liverpool Safety-Service Director Ryan Estell and City Engineer Bill Cowan greatly encouraged the students through their eagerness to help. According to Dietz, it was heartening to see determination in others to make a change in the community.

The students are receiving just as much inspiration through this project as they are giving.

“I never would have imagined that my idea to help the city would have been chosen. I am very blessed to have this opportunity to put my ideas into action. I owe all this to Dr. Tritico and I can’t thank him enough for it,” Dietz said.

Tritico’s hope is that students learn if they put their talents to use, they can make a positive difference in their community.

While there is currently no set date for the fountain reveal, the project is set to be completed in May.

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