Even sub-zero temperatures don’t deter vandals – not from Sparty anyway. The statue – MSU’s beloved landmark at the Kalamazoo Street/Chestnut Road curve – was defamed again, sometime before 6 a.m. today. The yellow paint points to University of Michigan culprits, likely in town to make a statement before tonight’s women’s basketball match-up against the Wolverines in Ann Arbor.
On the scene first to investigate were Painter II Marsha Clark and Structural/Paint Skilled Trades Supervisor Deb Russell. By 6:30 a.m., Landscape Services employees were on site to return Sparty to his rightful state. To get things started, Jim Thrush, laborer I, plowed the area around Sparty so his co-workers could get their truck close enough to safely work on the statue.
The frigid temperature – while not ideal for the Phys Plant employees working in it – may have aided the clean-up effort.
“The cold may have helped the situation because the latex paint wasn’t all the way dry,” explained Grounds Utility Worker Tracy Harris. Harris, Laborer I Trevor Rasmussen and Grounds/Site Construction Group Leader Kim Consavage tackled the task by first scraping the paint off with a putty knife and then by wire-brushing it out of more difficult-to-reach cracks and curves. They estimated the effort would take the three of them four hours.
While it was Harris’s first Sparty cleansing, this is Rasmussen’s second in four years. Consavage, the veteran of the group, estimated she’s de-graffitied Sparty an average of three times a year for the past nine years.
January 15, 2009