April 23, 2004
04-71

Charles Harmon Director of University Relations

"Igniting Blazer Spirit" celebration to light new Blazin'Smokestack on April 28

?Igniting Blazer Spirit? will be the theme on April 28 as Valdosta State University holds an evening celebration to illuminate VSU's highest landmark, a 56 year old smokestack. Electricity to the new sign on the 110-foot smokestack will be turned-on during an 8:30 p.m. free event that will take place outside on the P.E. Complex lawn. The VSU community and the public are invited to attend and refreshments will be served. VSU students can participate in a drawing for a free pizza party for 20 at the Loop Restaurant.

The new neon sign on the smokestack, installed by ANS Signs, Inc. of Adel, Georgia, is located in the heart of the main campus. It includes a Blazer flame at the top and the words VSU Blazers down the side. The sign is expected to be a promotional focal point and enhance the approach to the campus from I-75 coming down Baytree Road.

The VSU smokestack was used originally for the steam plant and then later for natural gas, before going out of service. About 2 ? years ago the smokestack had to be repaired for lightning damage and about ten feet of the stack was removed. Over the last several years a wireless telephone company has contracted with VSU to use the smokestack as the location for an antenna. Revenue from this contract is being used to help pay for the $17,900 sign, a price that reflects a 58 percent reduction by ANS Signs, Inc. from normal contract pricing.

The sign, which is being installed with no cost to state taxpayers, will enhance the Baytree approach to the campus and ?lift school spirit in a way that few other things could,? said VSU Vice President for Business and Finance Jim Black.