With the school year canceled there wasn’t much in the way of school activities to look forward to. Thanks to COVID-19 it’s been all about waiting until the next school year is in session. That is until recently. Now there’s a different kind of wait that is putting the ADM Community Schools world on watch with an impending Tiger statue.

“This statue is something that means more than just a statue,” said Dana Brown, ADM Alumni Association member and head girls golf coach. “It’s another expression of our ADM pride not just for the school, but the community as a whole.”

In itself, the statue is significant but there’s so much more behind the scenes.

“The timing of this whole thing is quite interesting because this was the last big thing we were able to do before the COVID-19 pandemic came,” said Brown. “We had our final fundraiser in February and then everything came to a halt.”

While the simple meaning of the statue is big in itself, it could mean a whole lot more with few school activities until the beginning of the next school year. Brown said the estimated arrival time is set for early August, just before students return to school.

“Moving forward, it will be very special to have something like this with all that has gone on lately,” said Brown. “I envision it as a piece that people can celebrate and gather around and really feel like it’s our reset back to normal with the school year and the community.”

The statue, currently in the making, will mark the first three-dimensional application of the new re-branded logo for ADM. In what looks to be the final dimensions, the Tiger statue will stand five feet tall and will measure six to seven feet from the nose to the end of the tail. The original measurements for the statue were set to be roughly four feet tall but the same ADM Alumni Association that brings the ADM Hall of Fame each year, thought differently.

“We checked out other statues and at first we thought maybe four feet,” said Brown. “Then we thought about it and decided that to do it justice for the school and community, we needed to go big. Then we landed on the current dimensions that we have now.”

When completed and brought back, the resting place for the Tiger statue will reside in front of the ADM Middle School entrance. It will be a big moment once the statue arrives but to really appreciate what will be, it’s good to take a look at all the work that has been done to get to the final product. The entire process for the statue has been two years in the making and has been financed through the ADM Alumni Association. The group has had to get a little creative in the process of fundraising and ultimately fell on an event that hit the exact demographic they were looking for.

“We knew we needed a fundraising event to make this happen and in February of last year we created the Red and Black Bash,” said Brown. “Although it was put on by the ADM Alumni Association, our target audience really was the entire ADM community. We thought that the statue could be something enjoyed by all from current students all the way to alumni.”

The initial presentation to the ADM school board was well received and through the last two years, Brown mentioned many of the details were ironed out including what company to go with to make the statue. After a lot of searching, a well-known company named Chicago Fiberglass Works was the ultimate pick. Chicago Fiberglass Works has produced many statues most locally recognized by various Herky the Hawk statues place all across the University of Iowa campus and even statues for UNI.

“They are a family-based company and we liked that aspect because we are a close-knit community here at ADM,” said Brown.

Perhaps one of the biggest factors had to deal with the material that would be used.

“In the beginning, we were also considering concrete but to have the statue be six to seven feet long would mean the statue to be really heavy,” began Brown. “We were also concerned about damage with concrete and being able to repair it.”

Ultimately the decision was set on fiberglass and therefore the concern about weight has vanished as the estimated weight of the statue will be roughly 150 pounds total. The statue will also be able to perfectly handle pretty much anything thrown at it, said artist and sculptor Joseph Albarran.

“Fiberglass is a very durable material and is meant to withstand things like weather, public exposure, and so forth,” began Albarran. “It’s a material that can be used for larger items and it doesn’t distort over time.”

The initial element to the statue is a foam-core type substance that is shaped down by the sculptor into what looks more like the final product.

“It has been fun to see it come together,” said Brown. “I’m in contact with him (Albarran) almost daily on changes or modifications and it’s been interesting to see how quickly he has been able to work when I have given him feedback. It’s very eye-opening to see something so custom like this come to life.”

The same feelings are shared by Albarran, who has appreciated the feedback by Brown and the ADM Alumni Association.

“It’s been a pleasure working with Dana,” said Albarran. “It’s been nice to get the feedback from her. It’s always one of my favorite parts taking someone’s vision and shaping it into something tangible. It’s their statue so to have that input is really helpful. Sometimes an artist’s passion can get in the way and while I try not to do that, having that input gives a good guideline.”

Brown added that the ADM Alumni Association owns everything involved with the statue from the concept drawings to the mold itself, which can be used for potential future statues.