LaGrange College has started a new effort to increase school spirit and show community support for athletic teams by painting red panther paw prints on Forrest Avenue traveling to the athletic facilities.
The project was first introduced by members of LaGrange College’s Integrated Marketing Committee and then later by the Athletic Department. LaGrange City Council approved the project in October and painting began Tuesday.
“The paw prints are an indicator of school spirit and a mark of pride in our athletic program,” said Dean Harman, LaGrange College director of communications and marketing.
Hartman said the paw prints also serve a practical need in directing visitors to the athletic facilities.
Currently, there are only paws painted near the intersection of Forrest and Vernon, but they will eventually travel south on Forrest Avenue to Callaway Stadium.
Hartman said the paw prints will be an indicator to prospective students of school spirit and hopes it will be another point of pride for community members.
“It’s actually pretty unique because we never had anything like this,” said David Harber, a junior at the college.
Harber, a former football player, said the student support has always been there but hopes this inspires the community to come to the games and support the school.
The funding for the prints came from a donation from Lee Ritcher, who is the long-serving golf coach at LaGrange College.
Hartman said the college’s consulting architect, Will Barnes, helped with the planning and local firm Wood Sealing and Striping is painting the paws. Charles Smith, building and grounds committee leader, has helped facilitate the project as well.
Students returning for the spring semester can expect to see the newly painted paws as they will be completed sometime in January, Hartman said.