Schools seek to replace stolen sculpture at HQ

Columbus area residents used to be able to enjoy the sight of two bronze statues of children playing in the pond in front of the Bartholomew Consolidated Schools headquarters on Central Avenue.

But about three and a half years ago, the statue of the girl was stolen on a Sunday night and has remained missing ever since. Now the school district and the school foundation are hoping to put statues back in place.

Rich Stenner serves at the school board’s liaison with the foundation.

“Janice Montgomery is spearheading, on behalf of the school corporation and the school foundation, as a volunteer, an effort to replace those with some statues that will be a little more permanent, we hope,” Stenner said.

“There is a fundraising initiative going on, the school foundation is raising funds. We hope to hit the mark of somewhere around $15,000 to fund those statutes. We are working with students across the district who are excited about the project. We have been working with folks in the administration and leadership at the foundation. We are excited about the chance to have some statutes back at the pond again, some day in the future.”

The original statues were entitled Puddles and Frog Pond and were designed by Jo Saylors for Arvin in 1995. The school district inherited the statues when it took over the former Arvin headquarters at 13th and Central Avenue. Saylors also did the Crack the Whip statue of children which is in the plaza at the end of the Robert Stewart Bridge on Second Street in downtown Columbus.

Dr. John Quick, the school superintendent, said that boy statue has been put into storage. He said the district has followed several rumors over the years that they thought would lead to the recovery of the girl statue. But officials are now ready to move ahead, thinking it has likely been sold for scrap somewhere.

Quick said it was important to have the statue paid for through donations and fundraising, not through tax dollars.