The University of Wisconsin in Stevens Point is cleaning up one of its most iconic pieces of art.
For the next three weeks, workers with giant sponges will scrub the mosaic mural of Wisconsin animals and plants that covers an outside wall of a campus building.
For the past 30 years people have admired the giant mural on the south wall of the Natural Resources Building.
The mural stands 51 feet high and 150 feet long.
"This has sort of become an iconic symbol on our campus," said Christine Thomas, dean of natural resources at UWSP.
Now crews are removing three decades of dust, dirt and grime from the mural.
"Elbow grease for the most part, just like doing a really big pile of dishes," said cleaner Zachary Rueter.
There are close to 300,000 little ceramic tiles that make up the mural. Now imagine being part of the crew in charge of scrubbing each and every one of them.
"It's going to be a long tedious process but that's what we're here to do," said cleaner Kevin Nadeau. He's one of the two men who are cleaning the mural.
He's been in this business for ten years and says the mural is no quick job.
"I would think in my estimation probably about two to three weeks," added Nadeau.
The crew from Milwaukee cleaning the mural says because it is made of ceramic tiles, the cleaning is more complex and they can't use a pressure washer.
Campus leaders say they originally worried about the cost of the work.
"We were really afraid that this was going to be an expensive restoration project," said Thomas.
Thomas tells Newsline 9 that she was a student on campus when the mural was being created.
"It was really exciting to see it going in and all of the activity around it," added Thomas.