Details being worked out for Rogers statue, Heisman Plaza

dcloninger@thestate.comJune 16, 2014 

Will it be No. 38 effortlessly cutting through the defense on his way to the end zone, or perhaps standing on the bench, eyes admirably cast toward the field as his teammates finish a win that he had a huge hand in crafting?

The pose is being decided on. But the statue of Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers that will grace a new plaza outside Williams-Brice Stadium is slowly coming to life.

“We’re vetting it out with sculptors at this point, and we project that it will be between ($100,000-$300,000),” South Carolina athletics director Ray Tanner said Friday. “Obviously, we want it to be a very special statue.”

As The State first reported on June 3, USC is moving forward with plans to honor Rogers with a statue. The monument is projected to be placed in the northwest corner of the new “Heisman Plaza,” which will surround the east side of Williams-Brice Stadium and abut George Rogers Boulevard. The plaza and statue are scheduled to be completed in time for the 2015 season.

“I think, and I hope, that the development of the Heisman Plaza and the building and the placement of a statue of our Heisman Trophy winner, will elevate the sense of accomplishment of this university’s athletic department with regard to football in a way that we have just not done before,” said Chuck Allen, the driving force behind the statue and plaza. “It will delight Gamecock Nation, fans, students, alumni, players, in a way that will create the sense of, ‘Hey, there are no limits to what you can accomplish at this university. You can be the absolute best.’ ”

USC is soliciting bids and plans from sculptors around the country and has examined a few pictures that could end up as Rogers’ pose in bronze. Tanner spoke of a few other particulars on Friday after an end-of-year presentation to the USC Board of Trustees.

For one – how to protect it? While the plaza’s artistic renderings call for a wrought-iron fence to encircle it, the statue will tower above it. Williams-Brice has had numerous instances over the past few years where vandals have spray-painted Clemson logos on the field. Is there a covering that can preserve the statue during the offseason?

“I don’t know if you can do that, because it will compromise the integrity of the statue, but that’s always a concern,” Tanner said.

There’s also making sure the statue will not be dwarfed by the stadium behind it.

“Remember, you’ve got Williams-Brice in the background, so if you do a 12-foot statue, you say, ‘That’s pretty big.’ Then you’ve got Williams-Brice a few feet away, it looks like it’s six inches high,” Tanner said. “That’s where they’re at right now, to make sure it doesn’t get swallowed.”

Tanner also addressed the issue of premium parking around the stadium. The plaza will remove those spaces and cover the entire east side of Williams-Brice with brick walkways, green space and a new ticket office/souvenir store/operations building. The existing ETV building will be demolished.

Those parking spaces will be moved to the Fairgrounds or to Gamecock Park, which should help sustain USC’s standing as the top school in the SEC when it comes to football parking. Tanner revealed that in an SEC survey, USC was voted as having the best parking, despite Bluff Road resembling a parking lot after games.

The plaza will further remove the “concrete jungle” tag of the stadium area and give fans a meeting spot before games.

Tell ’em to meet you at the George.

Follow on Twitter at @DCTheState

Go Gamecocks is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service