MBJH Unveils Bronze Spartan Sculpture


  • Friday, March 1, 2024 – Just inside the lobby doors of the newly renovated Mountain Brook Junior High sits a hand-crafted 45-pound bronze Spartan helmet sculpture to serve as a visual welcome for all who enter. Jimmy McGowan, one of the junior high art teachers, is the creator of the Spartan showpiece.

    “The project began last April and was completed in November,” McGowan said. “The black granite base holding up the sculpture rests on top of a white oak pedestal which was selected from Alabama Sawyer, a local company and Mountain Brook alumni.”

    Nearly a year ago, McGowan, along with MBJH Principal Donald Clayton, talked about creating a piece near the school’s main entrance to serve as a central visual and welcome point. After discussions and contributions between the two and James Salvant, former MBJH Project Lead the Way instructor, a 3-D model was created.

    From this point, a rubber mold was made and a wax model of the helmet was designed. Throughout the process there were four components of the sculpture, two halves of the helmet and two halves for the plume. Once the wax model was complete, it was packed in a sand mold. Those sand molds were placed in a kiln to melt the wax within, thereby creating a negative space into which the bronze was poured. After the bronze version was created, the two components were welded together, grinded to smooth seams, and polished.

    “It didn’t feel real until we unveiled it,” McGowan explained. “I am most pleased that all elements came together and am very grateful for everyone's positive reaction.”

    Clayton and McGowan unveiled the sculpture at the school’s annual Fine Arts Night on Tuesday February 27.

    “Mr. McGowan spent countless hours on the sculpture and has created something that will show his skill set and our school spirit to many future Spartans at MBJH,” Clayton said.