Molalla High School transitioning to new mascot imagery
As the new imagery for the Molalla High School mascot has now officially been revealed, the next step is replacing the old images at Molalla River School District facilities.
Superintendent Tony Mann said the highest cost item is one that had already been scheduled: refinishing the surface of Capasso Court to include a new surface and updated imagery. The associated costs total $37,000, according to Mann. The gym floor's refinishing is typically on a 10-year cycle, but the district has delayed the refinishing for several years to a total of 14 years to have it coincide with the changeover to new images and branding, according to Mann. It's a cost that the district would have already borne regardless of the logo change.
The next items on the list include the replacement of granite signage around the district, which includes "keeping some elements in the signs and replacing the old mascot image with new branding," Mann said in an email conversation on June 2.
He said those costs are "very roughly estimated" at less than $20,000, including labor costs.
"All existing imagery will be replaced with the new branding," Mann said. "Any existing imagery will be replaced, regardless of location in the school district.
The imagery replacement will begin after the academic year is finished, and thee full transition to the new imagery is expected to be complete by the end of the summer.
Mann said maintaining the "Indians" name is "an exceptional privilege."
"The name carries so much history and pride in our community," he said. "We are excited, and we believe the new imagery and 'brand' is bold."
MHS students and community members submitted ideas that led to multiple possible new logos, which now includes an homage to the origin story of the Molalla People.
The seal includes an intertwined Coyote and Grizzly, which are "integral to the Molalla people and are symbolically juxtaposed to one another," according to a digital presentation of the new imagery by the school district.
It also features four trees in the bottom-right corner comprised of triangles, which "represent both fir trees and the Molalla people."
The logo, which will be main design used for athletics, is a large "M" with flanking triangles on the left and right sides that "symbolize the stylized animal features of Grizzly, an animal important to the Molalla People and their story of origin."
The school name and mascot – Molalla Indians – is placed in an arching fashion on top of the logo, which "add to the feeling of strength and power."
The third element to the new imagery, the pattern, features a horizontal image of five columns of circles and triangles, stacked on top of each other.
From the school district presentation: "In the Molalla origin story, Coyote was headed toward Mt. Hood when he met Grizzly. Mt. Hood, viewable from throughout the area surrounding Molalla, is represented by the triangles within the pattern. Circles, suggestive of huckleberries, are offset by cylindrical shapes representing Dentalium shells, a form or currency held by the Molalla People."
Kelleher talked about how the imagery change affects athletics at MHS, since it is "part of the identity at your school and your athletic teams."
Kelleher said in the past few years when sports teams have gotten new uniforms, steps were taken to not include the "Indians' name or the old logo because they didn't know which direction the state's decision on mascot/name use would go.
"Obviously, there's going to be a lot of changes to the school itself; in the gym, we're taking it all the way down this year, we have to remove all Indians head logos from around the school, so that's a big thing when it comes to athletics," Kelleher said. "The Indian head being on the back of the chairs, the announcer's score table, the gym floor, we re-did the banner a couple years ago where we put the block "M" on instead of the Indian head, so we've taken some steps to change those things and updating them, and it's going to look a lot different."
"One thing we're trying to do now is make that transition to 'Hey, this is our logo and this is the direction we're going with,' and kind of have the sports teams run with them the most we can," he said. "The block 'M' is still available for people to use, but I know that we're looking to promote our new logo, and I think it will go over well; with change, it always takes a little bit of time, but for the most part, everyone is pretty excited, it's a fresh, clean new look, and this is, as a district, where we're going, we had a lot of community input, the Grande Ronde was great to work with so we have a great relationship with them, and they were really happy with where the direction of the logo went, so we're all pretty excited about it."
Kelleher said while the old imagery is something people are used to, they also need to be culturally sensitive to the Grande Ronde and the tribe.
"That's why we tried to get community input, we had a committee with multiple people with multiple ties, whether it's to the school, the community, the history of Molalla, so we tried to use all facets to gain knowledge on what people were looking for," he said. "I think we did a great job getting the information out to the public, and I would say overall I think people are excited. Change is hard, especially when it's an identity with the logo, but I think it came down to 'Hey, this is the direction we have to go.'"
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