Maize South wants to give Coliseum bulls a new home

The two chrome longhorns still face off in front of the Britt Brown Arena at the Kansas Coliseum for a battle that will never be waged.

But now they glare at each other in an empty parking lot where nobody sees them.

Once a popular meeting place for families attending events at the Coliseum, the John Kearney sculptures are surrounded by weeds, their bumper flanks rusting.

James McDonald said he has a better fate in mind for them.

Maize South High School, only two years old, needs an external representation of its Maverick mascot, he said at a meeting of Sedgwick County staff and commissioners on Tuesday.

At no cost to the county, school supporters could refurbish the longhorns and move them to the front the high school, he said. Mavericks are unbranded cattle.

"I can't think of a better home for the statues to carry on a tradition of new beginnings, where people in the county can still enjoy these landmarks," McDonald said.

McDonald, a pharmaceuticals salesman and father of two students at the school, said he was driving past the Coliseum several months ago when he saw the sculptures and started thinking of the new school in correlation to the history of the Coliseum.

The bulls, to him, represented the beginning of an era for Sedgwick County and the Coliseum, which opened in 1978.

"They also represent strength, beauty and hope for the future," he said. "Maize South High School is a new school full of hope for the future. The student body chose the Maverick as their mascot to represent strength , honor and devotion to their school."

Commissioners were receptive to the idea, but they want to evaluate their options for the pieces.

Ron Holt, assistant county manager, said the county had planned to move them to the new entryway to the Kansas Pavilions, another part of the Coliseum complex.

He also said he needs to research the manner in which the county acquired the statues to see if any restrictions were placed on them.

County Manager William Buchanan said the staff will give commissioners a report on the matter by mid-July.

Students at Maize South, which opened in 2009 as part of a $60 million bond issue, have been looking for something to put outside the school to represent its mascot for a year and a half.

"This seemed like probably the most solid lead we had, something that was acceptable to all parties," said Maize Superintendent Doug Powers. "Being that it's Sedgwick County kind of fits with that theme of having that icon remain here in Sedgwick County."

McDonald said the bulls would be placed in front of the school in a green space where students could go out onto a patio and see them every day.

It makes sense for the county to give the neglected work of art to the school, he said.

"This is an opportunity for the county to give back to the district, where more people can see that and gain enjoyment from that," McDonald said.