Fraser Center wall features subtle Penn State tribute

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The colorful tiles on the Fraser Center in downtown State College have been catching eyes since the building's construction, but no one seemed to think much more of them than a pretty design on a retaining wall.

That's all changed since Gary Brandeis, one of the building's co-developers and president of Real Estate Capital Management in Ardmore, has spoken out on the details of the colorful tiles.

After a brainstorming session with the architect, the two came up with an idea for art for the wall, as required by State College borough's building codes. The wall would come to honor each of football coach Joe Paterno's wins: 409 tiles, each the school color of the team Penn State defeated, have been arranged in a random order on a field of blue tiles, in a way that "we felt looked good," Brandeis said.

A 1988 Penn State graduate of the Smeal College of Business, Brandeis said that care was taken to match the colors of the tiles as closely as possible to the teams that were beaten.

It's a colorful design that brightens up the area a nice addition to downtown that just happens to have something special inside it, he said.

While the "secret" meaning of the wall has remained mostly unknown until recently, it was never really a secret, just something not usually talked about, Brandeis said. It wasn't about publicity, he said, but was just a "cool thing to do."

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