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The Dragon has landed at Warren Area High School

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry David Enos (left) and Brian Fedorchuk of Warren County School District buildings and grounds, attach the left wing to the recycled metal dragon secured in front of Warren Area High School.

The new mascot in front of Warren Area High School traveled far to come to its new home.

In the nine months since Student Council President Stephen Ashbaugh first contacted Namfon Suktawee of scrap-metal-art-thailand.com on Dec. 12, 2018, about creating a mascot for the school, the dragon was commissioned, constructed of thousands of recycled automotive parts, protected against the elements, shipped in five pieces from Thailand to Los Angeles, trucked from Los Angeles to Cleveland, trucked again from Cleveland to Warren, stored while a concrete pad was built for it, brought out in pieces, assembled, glued together, and anchored to the concrete.

Whew.

“It looks fantastic up here on the hill where it’s supposed to be,” Ashbaugh said. “It looks out on everything. That’s exactly how we pictured it.”

Officials had hoped the dragon would be in place before the start of the 2019-2020 school year. It made that timeline by almost two weeks. The timing was much closer on Ashbaugh being able to attend the installation. In four more days, he would have been off to college. He said he was happy to see it in place before he left.

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry The dragon stands in front of Warren Area High School.

The dragon is strapped down and not going anywhere, but there is more work to be done.

Ashbaugh said students at Warren County Career Center will complete a plaque during the school year to be placed with the dragon.

Buildings and grounds officials are considering placing a chain around the dragon to make sure no one accidentally gets too close. Officials are aware that people will intentionally get close to the dragon, particularly for photos.

On the advice of a consulting engineer, the crew anchored the 1,300-pound dragon to the concrete pad using metal straps and wedge anchors. The concern was a strong wind could catch the metal wings just right and shift the mascot.

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry Brian Fedorchuk (left) and David Undercoffer of Warren County School District buildings and grounds stabilize the body of the recycled metal dragon being placed in front of Warren Area High School on Wednesday.