Ann Arbor, MI

University of Michigan, Cooley Memorial Fountain


Completed in 1940, the Cooley Memorial Fountain is located on Ingalls Mall at the University of Michigan’s central campus. The fountain features Sunday Mornings in Deep Waters, a sculpture by Carl Milles that showcases Triton with thirteen smaller fish. University personnel observed water leaking into the vault below the fountain. SGH performed a condition assessment and designed a comprehensive project to restore and upgrade the fountain.

During our condition assessment, we noted that the bronze sculpture was significantly weathered and components had been modified and moved over the years. The university elected to restore the sculpture as part of the fountain repair project. SGH worked with Michelle Smay, Senior Architect at the university, to research the sculpture’s original configuration and undertook a micro-analysis of the existing finish to inform the cleaning and refinishing process.

In addition to restoring the sculpture, our design involved rehabilitating and upgrading the fountain. Highlights of this work include the following:

  • Installing new fountain waterproofing using a cold fluid-applied fabric reinforced system
  • Replacing damaged limestone cladding and repairing deteriorated concrete
  • Replacing the metal plumbing with plastic that would be more resistant to the effects of the chlorinated water
  • Converting the manually controlled chlorinator to an automated system to better maintain the chlorine levels to protect the plumbing and sculptures
  • Anchoring stainless steel pipes to the concrete and new piping, allowing plumbing lines to be disconnected when the sculpture’s components are removed for maintenance, and concealing this modification with a copper sleeve to mimic the original copper tubes that supported the sculptures

With this project, SGH helped the University Michigan extend the useful life of this iconic campus feature by designing a durable restoration and incorporating features to facilitate future maintenance.

Project Summary



Completion Date


Construction Value


Building Enclosures
The University of Michigan
Specialized Capabilities
Preservation | Roofing & Waterproofing

Key team members

Jeffry Ceruti
Jeffry Ceruti
Senior Principal