The Martin Luther King Jr. bust and pedestal will undergo extensive repairs and should be back in the MLK Plaza by the end of April.
Vincent Ahern, coordinator for public art for the Institute of Research in Art, said the artwork needed to fix the bust will cost $6,500, and there will be additional expenses to repair the damaged pedestal.
“The end cost should be just under $9,000,” Ahern said.
It is not yet clear where the funds will come from, but Ahern said that all of the costs are covered.
In the past year, the bronze figure has been vandalized twice. The first time it was taken off of its base and thrown into the MLK reflection pool. New damages were noticed when officials were checking on repairs from the previous vandalism. The bust was becoming detached from the metal anchors that were installed to keep vandals from removing the bust from its base again. Officials removed the statue Feb. 7 because they were worried that someone would steal it. Ahern said that new security measures will be taken to make sure the vandalism stops.
“I don’t want to undermine the security (at the MLK Plaza), but it is there. We are reasonably confident that the problem will not reoccur,” Ahern said.
Ahern added that Wilma Henry, associate vice president for student affairs, is waiting for a definite date for the repairs to be complete so that a ceremony can be planned for the return of the MLK bust. All students will be able to attend.
“We are very anxious to get the piece back and in the pedestal,” Ahern said.