Fort Hays State University students walking to Cunningham Hall by way of the Cunningham walking bridge for early morning classes were greeted this week for the first time by a huge glowing Victor E. Tiger on the east end of the bridge.
The bright black, white and gold university mascot was installed Monday morning . The sign is controlled by a photo cell and lit up for the first time about dusk on Monday.
The bridge was built in 1973 as a means for crossing Big Creek to the new Cunningham Hall and adjoining Gross Memorial Coliseum.
The only way to reach the bridge for many years was by foot or bicycle, as the nearest street was one that dead-ended several hundred feet from the bridge near Wooster Place Apartments.
For four decades, the cement wall appeared as nothing more than an end support for the 486-foot long bridge.
The bridge became more visible in 2013 when Dwight Drive was extended across the top of the Big Creek levee to merge with Gustad Drive – the road connecting the main campus to Gross Coliseum and the Robbins Center.
Dana Cunningham, director of facilities planning at FHSU, his staff has been discussing for some time that the cement wall was a perfect spot for a Tiger.
When funds were made available by the FHSU administration for a Tiger sign this past summer, Cunningham began making plans with Commercial Sign Co. to manufacture and install Victor E. Tiger by Homecoming weekend.
A 10-by-10 foot digitally printed Victor E. Tiger, covered by a UV laminate, was stretched across the face of the frame. LED lights behind the face provide the illumination.