COLUMBUS — It rests on the new school’s front doorstep — an 18-feet-high emblem of the bonds of education and discovery that will link past, present and future generations of Columbus High students through the years.

The 30,000-pound anchor sitting on a more than 2-feet-high pedestal serves as the new school’s greeting to students and visitors, a nautical-themed pillar for Discoverer alumni and the community as a whole to rally around in the years ahead.

“We wanted to get our alumni engaged in the school building process. We thought, 'What a neat way to market our school,'" said Kim Kwapnioski, executive director of the Columbus Public Schools Foundation.

The anchor is the centerpiece of a display that will include a ring of benches and brick wall. Surrounding trees, bushes and flowers will provide landscaping enhancements as time goes on.

The foundation spearheaded the campaign to raise private funds for the anchor project that serves as a focal point for the new 270,000-square-foot school.

The organization works with CPS, alumni, businesses and the community to provide financial support for school programs not covered by the district’s funding sources.

Kwapnioski said the foundation is promoting the new display by asking donors to make an investment in the district’s students while “linking” their support with the foundation by giving $10,000. Donors will receive one of 20 links in an anchor chain showcasing their family’s name or business.

Other donors can sponsor one of the display’s 24 benches for a donation of $2,500 or buy a $100 brick with their name etched on it for inclusion on the wall.

Business and individual donors “jumped on board from the beginning” to support efforts to raise funds for the anchor project, Kwapnioski said.

Platte Valley Precast did the concrete work, pouring 29 yards of cement and installing plenty of reinforcement to strengthen the base support.

Behlen Mfg. Co. helped out with transporting the anchor to Columbus and sandblasting it after it arrived last fall. Duo Lift Manufacturing painted the anchor and mounted it in front of the new school in January. Omaha-based DLR Group, which designed the new high school, provided architectural services.

“They all donated their time and talents to make this possible,” Kwapnioski said.


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