Students + Campus

The Bruin gets some back-to-school grooming

Bruin bath
Rebecca Kendall/UCLA

Alex Sandoval, left, and Carlos Flores work on The Bruin before thousands of students descend on the campus next week. Sandoval has been caring for the statue for 17 years.

Alex Sandoval and Carlos Flores of Sculpture Conservation Studio treated The Bruin to a little TLC in advance of move-in weekend and the start of the 2016-17 academic year. The five-step "spa treatment" included a thorough cleaning with non-chemical soap and water, followed by a mineral wash. After that, the Bruin received a heat-intensive treatment to open up its metallic pores. Then UCLA's beloved icon was coated with a sealing wax before getting a final rubdown.

Sandoval and Flores got to work this morning at 7 a.m. and were expecting to finish by mid-afternoon. For the past 17 years, Sandoval has been cleaning The Bruin four or five times a year — and whenever vandals strike — in addition to caring for other campus statues. “When I first started, it was only this high,” joked Sandoval, as he gestured toward the statue’s legs. The Bruin was a gift to the campus from the UCLA Alumni Association in 1984. It measures 10 feet long, 6 feet tall and 3 feet across and weighs more than 2 tons.

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