Proposed Wildcat statue to roar school spirit


Karen Limones

After five years in the making, a realistic bobcat representation of Willie the Wildcat is on its way to becoming resurrected on campus in the form of a $135,000 Wildcat statue.

“The statue will be rendered larger than life-size in durable materials preferably bronze; the statue and base not to exceed 6 feet in height by 5 feet in width, depending on the selected site,” according to a presentation in 2015.

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Map of proposed statue places. Trinity hall did not receive enough votes for it.

Associated Students’ proposed wildcat statue project was originally proposed in 2012 by students who attended a “Call to Action Summit.” It resulted from students feeling challenged on campus and encouraged to create a culture of respect throughout the Chico State community. They wanted something to depict school spirit.

“They came up with the idea because students really wanted a statue that represents the wildcat way. Respect, achievement, ability and community,” said Vu Ngyuen, A.S. executive vice president.

In 2015, a campus vote was held for where the statue would be placed. Campus spots competing for the statue were Trinity Commons, Chestnut Street and Trinity Hall.

2015 voting results were:
Chestnut Street: 248
Trinity Commons: 240
Trinity Hall: 147
None of the Above: 75
Total Votes: 712

The vote resulted in two finalist proposed areas, Trinity Commons and the Chestnut Street walkway. The site adjacent to Trinity Commons is in a small triangular hardscape that intersects between two pathways. The Chestnut Street site is located across from the Performing Arts Center courtyard and alongside the Bell Memorial Union.

Once approval for the statue is received, more information of the context and construction will be released. A.S. will first contact their artist for them to begin brainstorming ideas for the placement and image of the statue. The committee also proposed to change the name of the BMU Marketplace to the Wildcat Plaza.

A.S., Athletics, the Alumni Association and the university administration endorsed the statue as a university-wide project. It will cost $110,000 for artwork and installation, and $25,000 for site improvements. Contributions to cover the cost include:

· Associated Students: $50,000
· Alumni Association: $50,000
· Athletics: $10,000
· University: $25,000

A note was placed on the bottom of the presentation that the funds are not from state funding or student fees. However, the University contribution may be from state or student fee funds.

Some students said the statue could bring something different to campus.

Sophomore Ayleen Chang said, “It’s definitely cool to have because many other campuses have it. If they did bring it I feel that it could bring more school spirit.

It will be an important landmark where people and students can make memories.” Others believe decorating will happen to the statue.

I’m wondering if people will look at it and go what is that? Then they will forget about it. It’s an interesting placement. It looks like an invitation for people to decorate it. But I do appreciate the fact that they’re trying to bring more art, it brings personality to the campus,” said transfer student, Kelsey Wilson.

Nguyen said he doesn’t believe hazing will happen to the statue due to its proposed location.

“I don’t think people would be hazing because it’s right across the street from University Police department. The wildcat statue really serves for building up traditions in Chico State,” Ngyuen said.

He also said the main effort of the statue is to bring Chico State’s campus community together.

“The symbolic thing is we all have different experiences at Chico State but were all Wildcats,” he said. “At the end of your journey you’ll drop off your cap and gown at the Wildcat store and when you walk out that’s the last thing you’ll see.

The wildcat statue. It connects the campus and the community, so it’s really about tying all these pieces that make Chico state so great together,”

The proposal will be recognized during the 75th anniversary on May 10th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.


Correction: An earlier version of this story said that students voted to place the Wildcat statue near the Chestnut Street entrance to the university. Associated Students has informed The Orion that the statue will be placed on the Second Street side of the Bell Memorial Union.

Karen Limones can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.