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Anchor Project

History of The New Columbus High School - ANCHOR

Anchored in Pride

Tom Wrigley (Author) Thomas Wrigley Jr. (Editor)

Behlen Mfg. Co. set sail for a new adventure that began in September 2016.  It's interesting to note that "setting sail" would actually involve dropping anchor close to home at the new Columbus High School.

The voyage began when a visitor stepped into the lobby of Behlen Mfg. Co., her name was Kim Kwapnioski, former Director of the Columbus Public Schools Foundation.  Kim asked to talk to our CEO, Phil Raimondo, about an idea to support the new Columbus High School.  The idea planted that day began as a discussion that took root and grew into a vision.  This vision would establish a legacy lasting for generations to follow.

The IDEA - "Find an anchor, a very large anchor, and bring it to Columbus for the new Columbus High School".  After all, the Columbus High "Discoverers" lend their name for the tall ships that came to America and discovered what would become the future United States of America.

And with that idea, Behlen Mfg. Co. set off on a journey mirroring America's expansion from East Coast to West Coast in search for just the right anchor.  Rough seas were ahead after missing out at Coconut Creek, FL; however, treasure was found in Los Angeles, CA.  Blue Ocean Tackle possessed the anchor that would soon become known for not only providing inspiration for our Columbus High School students, but would serve to anchor the Columbus community as a whole.

The owner of Blue Ocean Tackle says the anchor had seen its fair share of the seas, and was being decommissioned from a Princess Cruise Vessel.  The anchor was ready for immediate sale.  This is where Behlen's BMC Transportation partners went to work.  They arranged for the pick-up of this anchor and delivery to Behlen Mfg. Co.

The anchor reached safe harbors at Behlen Mfg. Co. Monday 10/17/16. ---- IT WAS HUGE!

A very large crane was used to remove the anchor from the truck and move it to the sand blasting area.  The sand blasting was extensive; 5 layers of paint needed to be removed to get to the anchor's steel surface.  As luck would have it, May 5, 1949 was found embossed on the anchor surface for the origination of this treasure.  On Thursday, 10/27/16 sand blasting was completed and Duo-Lift was contacted for the next phase - Painting.

In all of this excitement, it became clear that discussion was needed to determine how to display this "legacy" so that it will welcome visitors to the new school.  The architects at DLR went to work and presented a "vision" that included mounting this anchor in front of the new high school.  The idea took root and Platte Valley Pre-Cast agreed that a solid foundation must be built for the new anchor and the community symbolism it brought forth.

In spite of Nebraska winter, the new foundation was designed and built in January 2017.  On Tuesday, January 31. 2017 - Behlen Mfg. Co. delivered the sand blasted anchor to Duo-Lift Mfg. for painting.  Duo-Lift moved the anchor into their plant and went to work priming and painting the anchor.

Valentine's Day - Tuesday, February 14, 2017 was the day the anchor made the 1 mile trip, via police escort, to the new Columbus High School.  The anchor was gently lifted and carefully positioned on it's new "home" in front of the new High School.

The anchor completes the "Discoverers" theme in a very visible and proud way, and will serve to show our community is anchored into what this treasure will bring forth.

This community effort started as an idea and now it welcomes everyone that visits the Columbus High School - Anchored in Pride!