Crews installed a more than 1,500-pound, 42-foot bronze rattler in front of the Florida A&M University (FAMU) Center for Access and Student Success (CASS) Building on Wahnish Way Tuesday.
Designed and created by Brad Cooley of Bronze by Cooley of Lamont, Fla., the rattler, the University’s mascot, was hoisted into place by a crane then secured to a concrete base. The seven-times life size statue was then covered with tarpaulin in anticipation of the building’s ribbon cutting early in 2021. The bronze rattler, which cost about $112,000, is expected to become a favorite for student graduation photos.
“It’s an image for students to come up to and get photos with. It’s something that they can take with them. This piece will be here long after we’re gone,” said Cooley, who was pleased with the way the statue turned out. “It’s going to get a lot of attention.”
The nearly $40 million, three-story, 73,000-square-foot CASS complex is being built with funding from the state Legislature. It is set to become a centerpiece of the University’s student success initiatives by housing most of the crucial student services under one roof.
That includes the functional operations from seven separate buildings – Student Affairs, Registration, Enrollment Management, Housing, Cashier, Student Financial Services, Veterans Affairs, the Health Center, Student Success Center and Parking Services – will be consolidated to make student enrollment, registration and other business processes seamless and all in one location, University officials said.
William Hudson, Jr., vice president of Student Affairs, said the new installation is a fitting symbol as the University forges ahead with student success initiatives.
“The rattler embodies the spirit of the Florida A&M University community,” said Hudson, who was present as the statue was put in place. “This statue is more than a work of art. It serves as a reminder of who we are and what we can accomplish.”