- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 12, 2016

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan State University has a new bronze monument to the school’s Sparty mascot.

The statue at the MSU Union in East Lansing is perched on a bench with his muscular arms extended out. People now are able to sit next to Sparty and pose for photos.

An unveiling of the roughly $150,000 project took place Wednesday ahead of the weekend’s homecoming events.

Oregon-based sculptor Alison Brown created a clay rendering used to cast the statue, which weighs more than 1,500 pounds. She noted that Michigan State students helped select her as the sculptor and helped decide on a pose for Sparty.

“One of the things that’s been so wonderful about this project is that MSU has involved its students in this in every step of the way,” she said in a statement.

The monument was commissioned in 2015 as part of an effort to attract more visitors to the MSU Union.

“He will become an icon on campus that every Spartan will want to see,” MSU Union director Tami Kuhn said.

The MSU Senior Class Council for 2016 picked the Bronze Sparty Statue Fund as its senior class gift. The list of supporters includes MSU Federal Credit Union, Paramount Coffee, MSU Panhellenic Council and MSU Interfraternity Council.

Another statue known as “Sparty” is a popular campus photo spot. That statue is located outdoors, within view of Spartan Stadium.

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