By TODD GOTTULA
KEARNEY – The University of Nebraska at Kearney is transforming the Central Green space at University Village by adding a new sculpture to the mixed-use development.
The piece of art named “Parable” will include three large steel arches, with the shortest being 25 feet in height and the tallest 40 feet high at its peak. The sculpture measures 47 feet wide and will be surrounded on each side by four concrete performance stages and seating. It is created from hundreds of 2-inch steel pipes welded together to form three intersecting parabolas.
“This will transform the University Village space and fills the vision we’ve always had for it,” said Michael Christen, University Village executive director and UNK director of business services. “The sculpture really is a centerpiece of the development and statement of what we want it to be, and what it can be.”
Designed by internationally recognized public art studio Cliff Garten Studio of Venice, California, the sculpture is being fabricated in Utah.
A 20-foot-tall opening in the center of the monument will allow people to walk underneath and through the structure. Another notable feature is LED lighting that will change colors and highlight the sculpture at night.
The Central Green where the sculpture will be located is in the main corridor near the north entrance of the University Village development. The space will be used for outdoor gatherings and events, including concerts and similar performances. The monument will be the first thing people see as they enter University Village.
“This central space is a spot where everybody will want to gather. The sculpture is going to add to this draw and become a focal point for tenants and visitors. It is a substantial addition to the site and brings a little bit of that awe factor with it,” Christen said.
Work on “Parable” has started, and installation is planned at University Village later this year after landscaping work is completed. The sculpture will cost $1.3 million to create and install, with funding coming from private donations.
“A key goal when planning for this was to create a piece that brings energy and generates interest in the space,” Christen said. “We wanted to bring the vision of campus, the community and region together as one, and this piece does that for us.”
Located along U.S. Highway 30 south of UNK’s main campus, University Village is a mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented neighborhood featuring residential, retail, academic, recreation, community engagement and service industry facilities.
Village Flats, an apartment-style housing complex for UNK students, staff and faculty, opened at University Village in 2018. The LaVonne Kopecky Plambeck Early Childhood Education Center followed in 2019.
Construction is underway on the $48 million Element 30 housing and retail space, as well as the $9 million Ernest Grundy Tennis Center. A $15.6 million Regional Engagement and Alumni Center is planned for construction soon with a targeted opening date of summer 2022.