Central College News

Central’s Peace Mall Receives Award from Iowa Chapter of ASLA

Featured: Central’s Peace Mall Receives Award from Iowa Chapter of ASLA

November 9, 2020

Central College’s latest change to the campus landscape has been honored with an award from the Iowa Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

The renovated Peace Mall, with the additions of the history garden and Wallace Spencer Stepenske Amphitheater, was presented an award in the Design (Built) category in a virtual presentation last month.

RDG Planning & Design was the landscape architect and nominated the project for the award.

In its nomination, RDG noted: “Central College has a storied past filled with examples of students and staff dedicating themselves to the ideals of our nation through military service. Peace Mall garden and amphitheater, located in the heart of campus, are an opportunity to honor these stories by giving them a physical space dedicated to the remembrance of Central College’s past.

“Through the tranquil garden and the inviting amphitheater, Peace Mall is perfectly positioned to host social functions, hold outdoor classes or welcome passersby who hope to learn more about the campus’ unique history.”

The history garden celebrates significant moments in the college’s history and the values at the core of its culture. There are 14 garden markers planned for the site, each commemorating an important milestone in the college’s past and principles fundamental to its future. Markers feature interpretive copy on etched glass plaques.

The markers are fabricated of Silverdale limestone, weathering steel, glass and stainless steel. The materials, colors and textures speak to the rich and diverse people and events that form Central’s history.

Peace Mall was originally created in 1964.

The history garden was inspired by Tom Gaard, Class of 1961, and his passion for history and his desire “to both honor veterans and enhance the campus aesthetics.” In addition to philanthropic support from Gaard and his wife Barb, other donors to the project include Wallace “Spencer” Stepenske, Class of 1964; Steve De Cook, Class of 1965, and his wife JoAnn; members of the Board of Trustees in honor of board chair emeritus Lanny Little, Class of 1974; the Class of 2018; gifts from estates; and anonymous donors.