Fountain Court Update
For years, the Fountain Court has been a central gathering spot at Community Hospital: a place for visitors and staff to take respite near the koi pond, have a bite to eat at the Fountain Court Café, or pick up something special in the gift shop to cheer a patient.
Auxiliary volunteer elaine dutra greets a customer in the new Fountain
The space has evolved over the years, with the most dramatic change coming in 1972 when a glass dome was installed over the pond. The biggest changes since then have taken place in the last year, with three significant developments: the move and expansion of the café, the opening of a much larger gift shop called Comforts, and the addition of a glass “donor wall” to recognize the hospital’s many supporters.
The original Fountain Court Café opened a month after the hospital and was more of a snack bar than a restaurant. Over the years, the menu has expanded and the cafe has been a hub even for people who weren’t coming to the hospital for care or to visit a patient.
“My memory of the Fountain Court goes way back to the late ’60s, when my sister was a volunteer in the café,” says Janice Harrell, director of Nutrition Services. “It started as a little soup and sandwich shop run by the Auxiliary. But as it grew and demands increased, it became a joint service between the Auxiliary and Nutrition Services. Nutrition Services orders, prepares, and provides the food, and the Auxiliary provides the service, greeting customers and waiting on tables. The income is shared; our portion covers costs, and the Auxiliary uses the café as a fundraiser in support of its programs and its donations to the hospital.”
The redesigned Fountain Court Café has expanded breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus plus snacks, available through take-out or table service.
“We still offer the tried-and-true salads and sandwiches from the previous menu,” says Harrell, “and we feature heart-healthy, fat-free, and low-sugar options. We also offer options such as omelets and hot cereal, veggie burgers, and kosher all-beef hot dogs.
“For dinner, we have a special that changes daily and includes items such as coq au vin and penne pasta with shrimp and asparagus. We also provide gourmet coffee, juices, and smoothies, and have a soda fountain.”
The café takes in part of the space that used to be occupied by the gift shop, which has moved into an airy, glass-enclosed space near the main entrance.
Volunteer Sharon Johnson in the new Comforts gift shop.
“The idea for the expanded gift shop was to create a place that feeds the soul and promotes healing, from the way it looks to the items we offer,” says Dee Borsella, Comforts supervisor and buyer. “Comforts is the first thing people see when they come through the front door of the hospital, and we wanted the space to be a reflection of the name — warm and welcoming.”
From garden markers to gourmet hot chocolate, pillows to plaques, pajamas to jewelry, Borsella knows that comfort comes in many forms.
“We’ve added products to attract a wider range of people,” she says.
Like the café, the gift shop is a fundraising enterprise for the Auxiliary, generating about $100,000 annually. Those funds have benefited the hospital in many ways, including development of the Healing Garden, Family Birth Center entry gallery, and Comprehensive Cancer Center waiting room, as well as purchase of the bloodmobile and employee shuttle buses.
“With its increased size and expanded offerings,” Borsella says, “we’re hoping to raise even more money to assist the hospital and its programs.”