Stanley Center to acquire, renovate former Musser Library

MUSCATINE, Iowa – Pending final approval from the Muscatine City Council, the Stanley Center for
Peace and Security is planning to invest more than $6 million in its local community through the acquisition and renovation of the former Musser Public Library located at 304 Iowa Avenue in downtown Muscatine. The building will become the center’s permanent new home, include space dedicated to the center’s programming in Muscatine, and be transformed into one of the most environmentally-friendly and ecologically-sustainable buildings in Iowa.

“In late 2019, we began a collaborative, staff-wide process that led to a description of our ideal workspace,” according to center President Keith Porter. “Reflecting on our core values, we knew that we wanted a space rooted in our community, aligned with our goal to mitigate climate change, and inclusive of the amenities, accommodations, and accessibility that communicate and reinforce our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

The former Musser Library’s location in downtown Muscatine, historical connection to education and learning, size and cost, and potential for the existing structure to be renovated and rehabilitated were strong factors in the center’s selection process. A committee of Stanley Center staff and governance members have been working alongside Neumann Monson Architects of Iowa City on the project.

“When we were approached by the Stanley Center about the possibility of collaborating, we were thrilled, according to Tim Schroeder, President of Neumann Monson Architects and native of Muscatine. “We like to think of what we do as having a positive impact on our world. To have the opportunity to serve an organization that does just that on a global scale is quite an honor. We are putting our shared values to work setting a ground-breaking example.”


With guidance from Neumann Monson, the building project is anticipated to result in Iowa’s first fully certified Living Building. Living Building certification is the world’s most rigorous proven-performance standard for buildings. To achieve certification, Living Buildings must generate all of their own energy and be self-sufficient, create a positive impact on the human and natural systems that interact with them, and connect occupants to light, air, food, nature, and community.

“We are particularly excited about the intended features of the building such as solar arrays and rainwater capture systems that will double as teaching tools for what is possible to those in our hometown and visitors from around the world,” according to center Communications Director Mark Seaman. “With the ability to model responsible and sustainable green practices—and share the story of their importance—children, families, and businesses in our community will see evidence of ways we can All contribute to collective action on global challenges like climate change.”

Based on recent assessments, the design and contracting phases of the project are expected to take place over the winter months with construction beginning in Spring 2021. Construction and finishing are slated to take approximately one year, with the center occupying the new space in Spring 2022. In the meantime, the center’s operations will continue remotely and at their current location, a short distance from the former Musser Library at the Laurel Building, 209 Iowa Avenue in Muscatine.

The center has dedicated a portion of its website to the project which will feature educational content about the building’s cutting-edge green technologies and community integrations. The site will also include updates on construction intentions and timelines: stanleycenter.org/livingbuilding.