26th Street Mall gets makeover with statue, sod


The statue stands 10-feet tall and weighs 1,200 pounds. Photo provided by Kylie Schwab / Antelope Staff


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What was once parking Lot 32 is now green space with workers laying down sod throughout the week. Perched at the edge of this landscaping is the new antelope statue. 

The bronze Loper serves as the finishing piece for the 26th Street Mall.

“I think it’s a great test of patience,” said UNK Chancellor Doug Kristensen. “It’s been a number of months since we were able to get it started. The Loper statue is the crowning iconic piece to that area of campus, so I couldn’t be happier.”

The sculpture was promised for spring commencement, but COVID-19 and building expenses delayed its installment.

The pronghorn statue stands at 10 feet and weighs more than 1,200 pounds. Mark Lundeen, a Holdrege native, designed the statue using funds from private donors. According to UNK News, Lundeen played football at Kearney State College and graduated in 1981 with a bachelor’s in business administration. 

When the project was ready for casting, Lundeen sent it to the general manager of Art Castings of Colorado, Tony Workman.

The end result is a lifelike pronghorn, facing the western side of campus. 

“I think it’s a perfect spot, and I think it will probably set a record for number of photographs taken because it’s going to be an iconic spot,” Kristensen said. 

This fall, landscapers will plant trees and lay sod in the neighboring lot, where the Otto Olsen building once stood.

“It’s a welcome mat,” said Caitlin Bolte, Confluence landscape architect. “It’s the welcoming moment to any visitor of campus. You get the Loper at the front, and then you have the setting and the foreground of the landscape, and then also further back is the fountain.”

Bolte’s goal is to create a vista as UNK guests drive uphill that will be completed this fall. 

A dedication ceremony for the Loper statue will take place during homecoming week Oct. 24-29.