MUSCATINE, Iowa–After months of planning and designing, the Stanley Center for Peace and Security has begun work on converting the former Musser Public Library into their headquarters. To celebrate the start of the reconstruction work, and to share plans for the new headquarters with the public, the Stanley Center hosted a ground healing ceremony Sept. 17, so named to highlight the ways the Stanley Center believes . “It’s been almost two years in the making, so it’s very exciting,” said Stanley Center Vice President and Director of Communications Mark Seaman.
To start the morning’s festivities, the Stanley Center opened their building at 304 Iowa Avenue, Muscatine, to the public, allowing them to walk through and view concept drawings of what the space will look like. During that tour, members of the Stanley Center, and the design firms Neumann Monson Architects and Graham Construction mingled with visitors, answering any additional questions they had. Flyers featuring additional drawings and floorplans as well as an overview of the Living Building Challenge, a rigorous environmental certification that the Stanley Center hopes to get for their headquarters and a link to a digital rendering of the full headquarters. As members of the public arrived, many of them brought items with them to donate to Muscatine Center for Social Action.
At about 10 a.m., Stanley Center President and CEO Keith Porter addressed community members about the work that will begin at the new Stanley Center Headquarters in about a month. In attempting to achieve Living Building certification, the Stanley Center will focus on seven different areas: place (incorporating the natural environment and community into building plans), water (cleaning and reusing rainwater on the property and offsetting water use by donating low flow fixtures to Muscatine Center for Social Action), energy (adding solar to their roof to generate 110% of their energy needs), health and happiness (designing a healthy and enjoyable workspace), materials (using documented safe building materials and disposing of demolition waste responsibly), equity (involving diverse contractors in the construction process), and beauty (incorporating an indoor courtyard, an outdoor mural, and other items to make the space attractive). “Our hope is to make systemic change in industries, show future generations what is possible, and inspire empathy for the environment,” stated Porter.
Catherine Elliott, one of the great grandchildren of the Stanley Center’s founders Betty and Max Stanley, then spoke about how she hoped the new headquarters would continue to carry on the Stanley family’s legacy of progress and innovation. “Instead of doing no harm, we’re trying to do some good,” she stated. “This is one building; it won’t change everything, but it will change some things,” she added.
Mayor Diana Broderson spoke last, commending the Stanley Center on their 50 year partnership with the city and their future plans for collaboration. She, along with Porter and Elliott, concluded the ground healing ceremony by planting a tree at the neighboring Clark House Apartments. As guests left, they received mugs filled with wildflower seed balls to plant and attract pollinators to the area.