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    Vladimir Sovyak/The Mainstream

Award-winning local artist creates rockwall open for students and athletes

in Campus Life/Sports by

Greg Kovach is an athletic enthusiast and artist who runs a local business entitled The Sign Factory which provides many services, including computer numerical control machining, making custom signs, restoring classic cars, air brushing and concrete work. He is the artist who created UCC’s new rock wall, located on the track.

Kovach is locally best known for his concrete sculpting work which often resembles objects from the natural world.

Kovach is a student of an array of visual arts. He works with countless materials, paints canvasses of contemporary street art and has tailored highly detailed Halloween costumes. Kovach frequents gym training classes and also enjoys BMX sports. Imaginative and however implausible, he constructed a ramp going from his roof down to his pool for BMX riding.

His work is all around our community and has made it as far as Tennessee. He has recently been hired by the city of Sutherlin to construct 28 rock sculptures which are popping up throughout the city, bearing things like flag poles and veteran commemoration plaques. Keep an eye out at the next Blackberry Festival for boulder shaped concrete sculptures, or “concrete facades” as they are referred to by Kovach.

As an artist and an individual, Kovach is held in high regard by those who know him. He has donated time on projects, and has been seen with his family going down Airport Rd in Roseburg, picking up trash. At best, most businesses will only pick up trash in their own parking lot.

Kovach’s work is on display now on UCC’s campus as a rock wall exhibiting a painted Umpqua River Hawks inscription. The rock wall is located on the west side of the UCC cross country track, just up the hill from the Technology Center Building. It is an expansion of the obstacle course, and the back side is equipped with rock climbing appendages. UCC’s track is open to the public, and anyone from the community is welcome to check out and climb the rock wall, as well as run through the other sections of the obstacle course, including the mud pits, pea gravel trails and an up-hill path covered with tires equipped with ropes to pull them up the hill.

The rock wall only took 28 days to sculpt by hand. Kovach worked 26 days straight, arriving early in the day to try to beat summer heat, which caused the concrete to dry rapidly. Other than the logo, no blue prints were used. Kovach improvised, successfully fabricating a 17,500 pound functional rock wall, which was then air brushed to emulate naturally occurring rock.

Subsidies for the rock wall which cost $30,000 came from fundraising and various grants, budgets and funds. The allocation of this financial assistance was made possible by a collaboration of UCC staff who believed in the project. “(He has) done a good job for us,” said Jess Miller, UCC’s director of Facilities.

Staff is very happy with the completed job. “We like it, plan to use it a lot,” said Craig Jackson, UCC’s director of athletics.

The rock wall is now open to all students and staff up on the track.