Oct. 7, 2016

Contact: Catherine J. Trujillo
805-756-6395; ctrujill@calpoly.edu

Cal Poly’s Koi Pond Memorial Reveals a Mustang in Landmark Rock Formation

Special Viewing Frame to Be Installed During Mustang Family Weekend, Oct. 22

SAN LUIS OBISPO — A project revitalizing Cal Poly’s koi pond memorial north of Spanos Stadium has made it easier to see the outline of the head and mane of the university mascot in the serpentine rock outcropping — just in time for homecoming.

A viewing spot will be hosted during the tailgate barbecue prior to the Mustangs’ football game against UC Davis on Saturday, Oct. 22. The tailgate will be held from 3 to 5:45 p.m. A special viewing-frame will make it easier to distinguish in the rock the prominent head and mane of a mustang. It will be in place from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the memorial located between the Business Building (No. 3) and the stadium rose garden.

The rock outcropping has been a campus landmark since Cal Poly first opened for classes as a polytechnic high school in 1903. The pond was installed in the 1930s and expanded in the mid-1950s, when the site was dedicated as a memorial to Ted Howe, the former head of the Ornamental Horticulture Department who died in 1952.

Recent renovation work included removing invasive vines and bamboo. The nearby lawn was replaced with mulch as part of campuswide water-conservation efforts. In addition, butterfly bushes were planted, and a growing collection of multicolored koi fish were added to the pond.

Other enhancements include a fish house shelter — an installation that supports historical bricks and colorful aquatic plants — to help protect the koi and pond-turtles from predators. Concrete structures created by past architecture students have also been relocated to the garden’s approach.

Troy Shafranek, a third-year architecture student in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design created the viewing-frame to make it easier for visitors to visualize the outline of the mustang. He sketched the concept and transferred his design into an acrylic resin outline. Shafranek next used a computer numerically controlled (CNC) cutter to replicate the sketch digitally and mounted the frame for viewing.

Project committee members include Shafranek, groundskeeper Henry Hilgert, Catherine Trujillo, campus curator in Kennedy Library, and Ray Ladd, special projects coordinator in the CAED.

History of the Howe Memorial and Remembrance Pond
The rock outcropping of serpentine — California’s state rock — is one of the few remaining natural landmarks on campus predating Cal Poly’s founding in 1901. In the school’s early days, trains stopped on campus, allowing students to disembark onto a simple wooden platform and proceed past the cluster of boulders to the original campus buildings. Since then, generations of alumni have enjoyed the serenity of the shallow pond created in the 1930s at the base of the formation. It was expanded and renamed the Remembrance Pond in 1955 in honor of Ted Howe, head of the Ornamental Horticulture Department, who lived from 1899 to 1952. A plaque on the rock honors Howe. Most recently, the addition of a larger pump has increased the water flow to the small waterfall that cascades through the rocks into the revamped koi pond below.

A current photo of the koi pond, waterfall and outcropping figure is included, courtesy of J. Kasperovich. An early photo from the Cal Poly Archives is available at http://digital.lib.calpoly.edu/rekl-11671. Other angles and historical photos are available upon request.

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