Iconic Atlantic High statue relocated to current campus

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By: Marisa Gottesman Associate Editor
An iconic Delray Beach statue has been successfully moved to its rightful, new home.
The steel-reinforced concrete statue of New York Giants quarterback Y.A. Tittle has been moved to Atlantic Community High School thanks to Delray resident Chuck Halberg.
The 20-foot statue, which weighed in at 27,000 pounds had been located near Hilltopper Stadium, which was the home field for Seacrest High School.
The school became Atlantic High School when Seacrest merged with Carver High School in 1971. Carver was one of the first black high schools in Palm Beach County.
The new school took on Seacrest’s green and white school colors with Carver’s eagle mascot. The school was relocated to its new location on West Atlantic Avenue in 2005.
The statue was crafted by local artist Don Seiler. While Tittle never played football in Delray, his nickname was the Bald Eagle, which is the mascot of Atlantic.
Newspaper articles indicate Seiler wanted the statue to go to the Orange Bowl, but when his offer was rejected a friend convinced him otherwise. A 1981 Palm Beach Post article states a Delray lifeguard captain who was friends with Seiler asked him to consider donating the statue to “A lovely little high school with a great football team.”
The Seacrest High School class of 1969 paid to move the statue to the school. But the first attempt to move the statue was not successful, a 1968 Post article states. A cable snapped during the move causing the statue damage at its knees. It was repaired and successfully moved on Dec. 19, 1968 where it remained for decades.
When Atlantic High relocated in 2005, people questioned if the statue would make the move, too. Seiler died in 2000 and his family placed the statue on an indefinite loan to the school. But his daughter-in-law opposed the move.
The statue remained at Hilltopper until last month when a team led by Halberg successfully packaged and hauled the statue to the school’s current location.
Halberg said he was approached by some locals who asked if he could move the statute about two years ago.
“I went over there and said no big deal we will do this,” he said.
But the move was a big deal. The process began last summer. Halberg said he had to go through the permit process with the school board and poured foundation last summer. Then, he had to figure out how to move it.
“We couldn’t figure out how to do it,” he said.
But after several experts took a look, he said they came up with a plan to bolt it and spray insulation foam around it to secure it for the move.
With help and donations from others and a police escort from Delray’s motorcycle team, the statue was moved in about five hours.
“It was cool,” he said. “We did it in stages. We videoed every step of the way. It couldn’t have gone better at the end of the day.”
He said he hasn’t received the final bill for the move. A lot of the services were donated, but if he had to guess he said the job likely cost around $20,000.
But, he said it was worth the money it will cost him and the time because it is with the football team. He said his kids attended the old and new Atlantic High.
“It’s something that belongs there,” he said.