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The shape of spirit: CUSG is pitched proposal to build tiger statue on campus

Clemson Undergraduate Student Government (CUSG) has proposed the construction of a new Tiger Statue on the practice band field, as part of an attempt to create a ‘defining landmark’ for the creative arts area of campus.

Jacob McMeekin, who presented the plan Monday night alongside Chris Sandkuhler at a CUSG meeting, said the statue is “meant to be a public doorway to this side of campus” and that “in the fine arts area, there isn’t much to draw people there…the purpose of the statue is to draw people there.” 

Although it is off the beaten path Sandkuhler justified the placement of the statue saying that “a wide variety of people from members of the Tiger Band, to students who use the Brooks Center … to members of the community just driving by will be able to see the statue.”

The statue will be placed in the “far back left of Spirit Pointe” as not to interfere with the practice field itself. There will be a rock bench at Spirit Point where the entire sculpture can be experienced. 

The tiger statue will stand 20 feet high and span 80 feet in length. It will be comprised of several large sheets of metal intended to reflect sunlight and create abstract shapes when viewed from anywhere other than Spirit Pointe. From Spirit Pointe it can be viewed in its entirety and recognized as a tiger. Orange lights will illuminate the statue at night following a Clemson sports victory. Sandkuhler said that this will be a “pretty powerful image.”

The $300,000 price tag for the statue itself was funded entirely by a private donor whose child attended the University and was a member of the Tiger Band. A tribute to the donor’s student in the form of a minimalist saxophone will be incorporated into the tiger’s tail. 

The Spirit Pointe project will include the tiger statue as well as  landscape and other improvement projects. These include a pathway from the Brooks Center towards the library (which will join the preexisting pathway in Spirit Point that travels through the spot where the statue can be viewed), the statue and a designated “point” to view the statue and will include a bench and marker. CUSG is being asked to provide an additional $75,000 to fund what McMeekin calls “everything else to make it pop and stand out.” The funds requested would go towards landscaping, lights, maintenance and upkeep. 

The presenters requested the full amount that CUSG can provide. Two other projects are asking for a portion of those funds. However McMeekin and Sandkuhler were adamant that $65,000 is the minimum amount that would allow for the project to go forward as planned. They did not go into detail about how they arrived at this number.

A local artist will be selected to make the pieces that will comprise the statue. The pieces will be made in September and then shipped to Clemson. Construction on the project is expected to take approximately four months, beginning in September and concluding in Dec. 2016. 

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