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November 7, 2013

The Bird has landed: Celtics star remembered with statue in hometown

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — After steel cables were attached Monday morning to a 15-foot bronze statue of Larry Bird, Brent Clark, a crane operator with 28 years of experience, carefully maneuvered the likeness of Indiana State University’s most famous basketball star over a concrete base.

“It reads 1,900 pounds on my crane scale,” said Clark, an employee of Misco Enterprises-Crane Service in Terre Haute.

“This is enjoyable for me to do. In Larry’s senior year at ISU, I had a season ticket and went to every one of the ball games here at Hulman Center. I also got to go to the [sub-regional] ball game in Lawrence, Kansas,” Clark said.

Fitting the statue into place involved some puzzle-working skills.

“Every art project has a little bit of play in it in the end,” said Betsy Wilkinson, a structural engineer for KIVA Structural Engineers in Terre Haute. “There are unusual, unique connections to make. The framework came out a little tall and the footing was cast a little high, so with the combination of the two, the center circle will be a little taller.”

Wilkinson said a stainless steel base frame and stainless steel frame extending from Bird’s bronze feet were used to support the statue in place.

The frame for the statue’s feet and box-like base frame, which had anchor bolts and epoxy to hold it in place, fit inside a two-foot-deep concrete circular base. The frame for the feet was welded onto the base frame.

Concrete was then poured into the circular concrete base. Holes were also drilled into the base frame to allow stainless steel tubes to be filled with concrete. Bird’s statute, while entirely hollow, has stainless steel framing extending up through his legs and to his waist, acting like bones for support.

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