A neighborhood landmark in North Columbus is back on its feet thanks to students and faculty in the Columbus Technical College welding program. The stag that stood at the entrance of The Preserve neighborhood was badly damaged in October of 2009. Resident Catherine Bickerstaff said the bronze statue was gone — only to be found in a vacant lot about two miles away. Its legs were all that were left on its base. Bickerstaff said the cost to repair the custom-made piece was out-of-reach until a new resident moved in last summer and suggested contacting the Columbus Technical College welding program.
Program manager Ronnie McBride and his students took on the project in November and not only brought the stag back to its original splendor but also turned the ruined statue into a great learning experience for his students. McBride says all four legs of the statue were bent and broken off. The base was broken in half and badly bent; one side of the rack was broken in half. The excessive damage meant about 160 man hours to get the deer back to its original grandeur.
“We welded, straightened, and sanded everything back to its original shape,” McBride said. “We also did extensive research to find out how to match the color and found spray patina that worked perfectly. We also made a stainless steel base to weld to the bottom of the statue.”
Even though the work was challenging, McBride said it was well worth it because of the knowledge everyone took away from the project. Catherine Bickerstaff went one step further.
“We were just extremely pleased. We couldn’t believe what a great job they did and they hardly charged anything!” she said. “We were so impressed, we all got together and made a donation to the welding department.”