TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — Alabama fans now have something new to cheer about.
A 19-foot tall and 7-ton elephant statue named Tuska now stands in front of Bryant-Denny Stadium.
“I saw it and I had to pull over to take pictures and see it myself and it just made me excited, and I am ready for football season,” UA nursing student Zoie Puckett said.
She says watching the construction crews install the gigantic elephant Monday morning was exciting and she expects the new statue to help create more football fans on campus.
“I think this is so cool, I’ve been coming to Alabama games since I was a toddler and I’ve gone to walk of champions for years and years. And I think after COVID and our football season last year I think this is a good morale booster and really cool statement piece,” she said.
Tuska was recently given to the University of Alabama by the Westervelt Company, along with a generous gift from Bill and Mary Battle, and was installed at the southeast corner of University Boulevard and Wallace Wade Avenue in front of the stadium.
UA student Jordan Colburn was also excited to see the installation of Tuska on campus.
“I think this is awesome, we’ve won lots of championships and me being a senior I think we deserve it and I think it’s a great addition to campus. I am really looking forward to taking my senior pictures in front of it,” Colburn said.
Tuska was sculpted by English artist Terry Mathews and has resided at the NorthRiver Yacht Club since September 2000. The statue was installed by the Mcabee construction company.
Public relations director Doug Killough says it was a challenging process that required lots of workers.
“Roughly 15 McAbee employees were involved in the loading and offloading of the elephant. The elephant roughly weighs 10,000 pounds, but I think the challenging part is not necessarily the weight, we’ve handled far heavier items before. I think the challenge is the awkwardness of the weight, the shape of the elephant provided challenges,” Killough said.
The Tuska Plaza project included new landscaping, a large pedestal for Tuska to stand on, sidewalks surrounding the statue and lighting elements for nighttime viewing.