Inaugural float cost more than $130K

The University’s inaugural parade float cost about $134,000 to create and operate, including the expense of flying a non-GW student to the District to paint a mural representing the Columbian College, according to a preliminary estimate released this week.

The float, which was one of only four in the inaugural parade on Jan. 20, had a working budget of $80,000 that could be stretched to $150,000. University spokeswoman Tracy Schario said the $134,000 figure does not account for materials that GW has resold or reused, such as power tools used in construction.

“Not all of that was consumable expenses. Some of it we are recovering in different ways,” Schario said.

The University flew in Anna Kaplan, a University of North Carolina senior, to help paint a mural representing the Columbian College. Kaplan is the twin sister of GW senior Natalie Kaplan, one of the float’s creators.

“The reason we brought in a GW student’s sister is that we didn’t have anyone volunteer who had the expertise,” Schario said. “If we hadn’t paid for her airplane ticket, it would have been more expensive for a freelancer to do that artistic work.”

Charlie Burgoyne, the student designer for the float, said Kaplan painted the intricate details for the mural on the float. He added that they sought student help from the art department, but it was eventually decided that an outside “professional” would be needed.

“It was designed by a few students, predominately Natalie Kaplan, Kim Wollner and Dylan Pyne. They all worked with the artists in the making [of the] mural,” Burgoyne said. “The intricate details were painted by the artist but it certainly was not as though the project was outsourced. The students were in complete control.”

Schario emphasized that the float would have been considerably more expensive had students not constructed it.

“While it may seem like a large figure, we did our best to economize where we could,” she said.

The full itemized breakdown of the $134,000 is not yet available.

Other inauguration expenses, including security costs and expenses from programming done on and around Inauguration Day, have not been released by administrators. The University is planning to apply for partial reimbursement from the federal government for some inauguration-related security expenses.

Lauren French contributed to this report.

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