Historic Fountain Dedication - August 8th
Posted On: August 3, 2015
~~JEFFERSON -- St. Coletta invites members of the public to attend the re-dedication of its historic water fountain that has been restored and reinstalled at the Jefferson headquarters on County Highway Y Aug. 8 at 11:00 a.m.
Following the dedication, the community is invited to stay and enjoy St. Coletta's annual family picnic, complete with music, games and food -- all free of charge.
It is believed the original fountain, was installed on St. Coletta's original campus off Highway 18 in the late 1920s. It consisted of a large center urn and four angels holding porpoises. The urn and the porpoises all produced water streams that converged in the center of the fountain. It is believed that last time all of the water features worked was in the 1950s. The fountain had stopped working entirely by the 1970s and only partially worked again in the 1980s, when former St. Coletta maintenance head, Ted Hoffman, repaired water lines that led to the four angel statues. Since then, the fountain has gone unused for decades, until now.
The project has taken a number of local contractors several months to return the fountain to its original working state. Jacob and Ed Wegner of Wegner Construction of Watertown designed and developed the materials needed to reconstruct the concrete fountain base. Ed was already familiar with St. Coletta, having done previous construction projects with the institution in the past. The custom wooden forms to pour the concrete took weeks of meticulous work, using specialized tools and materials.
"The job to recreate the shape of the previous base proved to be challenging but it was a job we were up for," Jacob Wegner said. "Wegner Construction focuses most of its efforts on commercial and agriculture poured walls, so this project allowed us to really get creative."
Another local business that stepped up to the challenge was Tom Gallitz of Gallitz Excavating and Grading. Gallitz Grading earned the bid to reconstruct St. Coletta's new driveway and it was during this project that Ted Behncke, St. Coletta's president, approached Gallitz regarding the fountain. Gallitz's crew was able to do the earth work necessary for the Wegner's base to be poured onto, in addition to setting all four angels and centerpiece in their places.
"The Gallitz group has played a major part in the re-engineering of our front entrance. They have gone above and beyond to improve the functionality of our space all-the while maintaining the historic nature of our property," Behncke said.
As for the plumbing work, St. Coletta's former head of maintenance, Hoffman, was pleased to be lured out of retirement to once again bring the water features of the fountain to life. With the fountain needing approximately 6,200 gallons of water to work, it took countless hours to manage the hookup for each statue.
Having such a long-standing history with the organization, Hoffman has been given the honor of throwing the ceremonial switch the day of the re-dedication.
"I'm pleased to do so," Hoffman said. "This has been a fun project to work on."
St. Coletta officials said special thanks also go out to Design Alliance Architects in Fort Atkinson, One Source Consulting in Brookfield, Paine and Dolan Pavers and the entire St. Coletta's maintenance crew. St. Coletta's current maintenance manager, Gary Armstrong and his crew are currently sodding and beautifully landscaping the area surrounding the fountain.
"The fountain really is a special piece for St. Coletta history, but also the history of Jefferson," Behncke stated. "It's re-birth is a visible reminder of our origins, but also the 110 years of the continuing mission of St. Coletta, our 400 employees and over 400 persons served in our programs. Its (re-dedication day) will be a day to remember for both St. Coletta and the Jefferson community."