GVSU students upgrading Grand Haven Musical Fountain

New water features to be installed this summer

Grand Haven Musical Fountain
The Grand Haven Musical Fountain during a Fourth of July celebration.


GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — Changes are coming to Grand Haven’s well-known Musical Fountain.

The City of Grand Haven and Grand Valley State University are working on updates to the fountain, which will be installed this summer. Five GVSU engineering students are working on updating the water feature as part of their senior project.

The project includes designing and building a new water formation, which hasn’t changed since the fountain opened in 1963. Currently, nozzles shoot water into the sky at different heights, choreographed to music and LED lights. For the most part, the water simply goes straight up and then comes down. There are some sweeps, but those are also getting updated.

“The current sweeps right now kind of move like a windshield wiper,” Brett Johnson, one of the GVSU students working on the project, said. “This would make it so we could move it much quicker than they currently have it.”

The students are still in the beginning stages of their senior project. They have not decided what new water feature to submit, and the Grand Haven Musical Fountain Committee will have to approve the feature before it is installed.

A separate group from GVSU has been working for the past three years to upgrade the fountain’s choreography software.

“The top part is the water and the lighting and the bottom part is a timeline in tenths of a second, with the lighting changes,” Terry Stevens, an affiliate professor in the School of Engineering at GVSU, explained as he showed 24 Hour News 8 the new software.

Grand Haven Musical Fountain, software upgrades
A computer screen shows the software upgrade for the Grand Haven Musical Fountain that a Grand Valley State University team has been developing.

The mechanical updates are expected to be completed by Memorial Day. The new water features are expected to be installed by August. The choreography software is expected to be released sometime this summer and will be available to download from anyone’s home. Once the changes are finished, anyone will be able to control the music, lights and water features of the fountain as long as it is approved by the Grand Haven Musical Fountain Committee.

The old grandstands will also get an update by the end of summer. They will be replaced with new amphitheater seating. The plan is to update the sound system during that process. New speakers and amplifiers will be added.

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Grand Haven Musical Fountain