With Obelisk towering behind, Haskell Chairman, CEO and President Jim O’Leary presents a $25,000 donation to Jacksonville University President Tim Cost. Pictured from left are Chris Ware, Haskell Director of Project Development; Ken Boeser, Municipal & Education Market Leader; Vincent Saladino, JU Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations & Campaign Operations; Leslie Redd, JU Associate Vice President of Development; Cost; O’Leary; Tim Snyder, Dean of JU’s Linda Berry Stein College of Fine Arts & Humanities; Scott Bacon, JU Senior Vice President of Strategic Operations; and Allan Iosue, Haskell Director of Strategic Accounts.

September 20, 2023

Dedication of Striking Public Art Installation Unites Town and Gown

Haskell provided the design-build expertise as the 31-foot-tall Obelisk became part of the turbo roundabout at Jacksonville University's main entrance.


Honoring Jacksonville, Florida’s history and adorning the unique turbo roundabout that feeds the main entrance to Jacksonville University (JU), a 31-foot-tall bronze and glass sculpture created by renowned San Francisco artist Shan Shan Sheng was dedicated Wednesday.

JU and the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville commissioned the artwork, which was financed by support from private donors. The university engaged Haskell to design and build the footing and mounting controls for the work at the intersection of University Blvd. and Merrill Road. Haskell built the retaining wall to control traffic, constructed the artwork’s foundation and installed the artwork and self-sustaining landscaping.

Jacksonville University donated the custom-made Obelisk sculpture to the City of Jacksonville in association with the Cultural Council and the Renew Arlington Cultural Redevelopment Area (CRA). Its location within the turbo roundabout, which serves 33,000 automobiles daily, is the main welcoming point to the University.

Haskell also presented a $25,000 gift donation to the university as part of the engagement.

“Haskell has a long-standing and deep relationship with Jacksonville University. It’s an honor to continue to support JU and all their plans for continued expansion,” said Jim O’Leary, Haskell Chairman, CEO and President. “We were happy to provide design and permitting services for the roundabout and the Obelisk. Haskell is committed to improving communities, and this installation is a catalyst for improving the surrounding area.”

The four-sided obelisk stands on two raised concrete rings filled with earth and landscaping. The obelisk's base holds 6-foot-tall bronze embossed panels with colorful 20-foot glass panels above. The bronze base and internal stainless-steel structure were made in China, and the glass panels were hand-painted in Germany.

“The shape of the obelisk represents an upward vision pointing to the sky, with its bronze base, embossed with symbols of historical significance to the Arlington community of Jacksonville, connecting back to the earth,” Sheng said.

Each of the bronze panels is embossed with images honoring Jacksonville’s identity. One celebrates Norman Studios, founded in the Old Arlington neighborhood in 1916, which produced silent films featuring African-American casts and addressed social issues of the day. Another depicts the Mathews Bridge, which connects Arlington to Downtown Jacksonville, while an aircraft carrier celebrates the area’s strong Naval presence. The fourth panel will be used as a dedication plaque.

Sheng was chosen from a list of three finalists for the project in 2019 by a committee that included the Cultural Council, Tim Snyder, Dean of JU’s Linda Berry Stein College of Fine Arts & Humanities, and local artists and engineers after reviewing more than 40 proposals.

“Public art matters,” Snyder said. “It matters to people. It humanizes spaces. It says to neighborhoods and to residents and to visitors that this place matters. It gives us a reason to reflect and instills civic pride. We hope this work will stand for generations to come as an invitation into the university community and, for the university community, a charge to connect with its neighborhood of Arlington. It brings Town and Gown together. It's a love letter to the community of Arlington.”

“Shan Shan Sheng’s Obelisk stands as a monumental work that recalls the history of our community and invites us to imagine a bold future. Public art humanizes public space,” Snyder said. “Obelisk, at the center of the new turbo roundabout, creates a dynamic new civic plaza that we hope will be a source of pride to the citizens of Arlington and the City of Jacksonville for generations to come.”

The roundabout, which opened in February 2022, replaced traditional traffic signals and turn lanes at an intersection that handles more than 30,000 cars a day. It is the first turbo roundabout in the United States. Originated by the Dutch, a turbo roundabout features inside lane geometry that spirals to the outside. That, along with a small curb between the lanes, adds a physical element that prevents vehicles from changing lanes within the roundabout. The $4 million project was one in a series of Jacksonville Transportation Authority’s JTAMobilityWorks program.

Driven by our core values of Team, Excellence, Service and Trust, Haskell is committed to contributing to the communities where we live and work. Contact us to discuss your facilities –and your community’s -- needs.

Haskell delivers $2± billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,200 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

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