The Nuclear Family Statue (or more formally known as the Russin Family Statue), which occupies the most central location on the University of Wyoming campus, may be finding a new home this fall.  ASUW President Megan Degenfelder and  ASUW Vice-President Ty McNamee have proposed replacing the Nuclear Family Statue with a new statue that embodies more of the UW campus feel, tradition, and pride.

While ideally, they would like to see a new statue of Steamboat grace the heart of campus, they have proposed within their legislative bill that either a Steamboat statue or some other form of western artwork replace the Nuclear Family Statue.

The push for a new statue began last summer when Degenfelder and McNamee felt compelled to put a symbol of Wyoming and UW pride in the center of campus.  They feel that a Steamboat Statue or other form of Western artwork would be more representative of the UW campus and create a more unifying, encompassing feel.  In addition, this fall will mark the 100th anniversary of ASUW at UW.  If all goes well, Degenfelder hopes the statue will be revealed during Homecoming 2012.  The proposed artist for the statue is Chris Navarro from Casper, a long-time sculptor who has done several other works of Western art such as the bull rider at Cheyenne Frontier Days.

However, Degenfelder said the she is unsure if the statue will be ready by this time because there are still many approvals needed before the project can begin.  This Tuesday, ASUW will vote to earmark the funding for the new statue and moving of the Nuclear Family Statue to the front of Knight Hall.  The total cost for the project is $125,000.  The new statue will be $100,000, and the extra $25,000 comes from the cost of moving the Nuclear Family.  The money for this project is not coming from student fees, Degenfelder said.  Rather, the money is coming from the facilities endowment, which provides capital for improvement projects on campus.  Currently, there is about $205,000 spendable dollars that have been produced by the endowment, which normally earns around $68,000 a year, according to Degenfelder.  Degenfelder believes ASUW will earmark the funds because of the strong student support they received from surveys they issued to students on campus.

If the funds are earmarked by ASUW and Freshman Senate, the next step is to have the project approved by the Public Arts Committee in March.  Degenfelder says that she does not know how the proposed project will go over in the committee.  After the controversy that emerged from the last statue placed on campus,  Degenfelder says that she thinks the committee will consider the proposal carefully and cautiously, but that there is a willingness to have something new in the center of campus to commemorate the UW

So will there be a new statue next year in Prexy’s?  We will have to wait and see.  Either way, Degenfelder felt that the project is “really important.”  Hopefully ASUW and the Public Arts Committee will agree with her.

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