The Stanley Center’s new home will be an investment in our local community and aim for the highest standards of green and sustainable living. Follow our progress here.
For decades, the former Musser public library building at 304 Iowa Avenue served Muscatine residents as a hub of learning. In the coming years, the Stanley Center will invest more than $6 million in the community by acquiring, renovating, and transforming the space into one of the most environmentally-friendly and ecologically-sustainable buildings in Iowa.
The center’s new permanent home will include space dedicated to our programming in Muscatine and provide opportunities to synergize with local resources such as the Musser Library, Muscatine School District, Muscatine Art Center, and international visitor programs. The renovated building will model green practices in Iowa and raise awareness about the need for collective action on global challenges like climate change.
In late 2019, Stanley Center staff and governance members began a collaborative process of describing our ideal workplace. We knew we wanted a home that offers the chance to live and share our core values and demonstrate our commitments to mitigating climate change and building just and equitable communities within society. We also knew we wanted to remain in Muscatine for the outside vantage point it provides in the global policy space and to continue the Stanley family’s commitment to local programming that helps our fellow Iowans grow as involved, educated global citizens. This is the foundation that we will build upon as we create an inclusive environment that furthers our mission at home and around the world.
Once construction is complete in 2022, the Stanley Center’s new home is anticipated to be one of the greenest buildings in Iowa. With guidance from Neumann Monson Architects, we are aiming for it to become the first such structure in the state to be fully certified as a Living Building.
The Living Building Challenge 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. In short, a Living Building is one that gives more than it takes.
We hope that our commitment to LBC will serve to inspire and educate others to prioritize sustainability and wellbeing in their workplace design. Learn more about the Living Building Challenge and the seven different performance areas of the certification: Place, Water, Energy, Health & Happiness, Materials, Equity, and Beauty.
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We aim to complete the design and contracting phases of the project over the winter months with construction set to begin in Spring 2021. Construction and finishing are expected to take approximately one year, and we hope to move into our new space in Spring 2022. In the meantime, our offices will remain in the Laurel Building at 209 Iowa Avenue.
We do not currently anticipate the need to close any major roadways for any length of time during construction. We will actively work to minimize disruption to our neighbors while maintaining open lines of communication with them and the Muscatine Municipal Housing Agency which oversees Clark House. We are keeping our webpage dedicated to the project up-to-date and remain available for questions and comments anytime. Furthermore, given the cutting-edge, eco-friendly nature of the building, we are planning educational opportunities for the public about its features during and after construction.
In late 2019, we began a collaborative, staff-wide process that led to a description of our ideal workspace, including a prioritized list of desired features and elements. Reflecting on our core values, we knew we wanted a space that is rooted in our community, designed to be as environmentally-friendly and ecologically-sustainable as possible, and inclusive of the amenities, accommodations, and accessibility that communicate and reinforce our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Based on the values we share with them and experience they have with the kind of space we are seeking, we chose Neumann Monson Architects to assist in further evaluating our needs and potential spaces to accommodate those needs in Muscatine. After reviewing a number of options—including a new building and existing structures—we agreed that the former Musser Library is the ideal space for our future home. Its 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 our selection.
Alongside the architects at Neumann Monson, we are committed to constructing a building that has positive impacts on the environment and our community through the Living Building Challenge (LBC). Taking on the LBC means that the building must generate all of its own energy and be self-sufficient, create a positive impact on the human and natural systems that interact with it, and connect occupants to light, air, food, nature, and the community. There are currently no fully LBC-certified buildings in the state of Iowa and only one renovated building in the world has achieved LBC certification.
As an organization dedicated to its community and interested in its growth and success, the Stanley Center’s new home will provide opportunities to synergize with local resources such as the Musser Library, Muscatine School District, Muscatine Art Center, and international visitor programs. Intended building features include community gardens and green technologies 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. The building’s incorporation of these green technologies will create demand and opportunities in our community and local economy in line with our values, instead of adding to demand for fossil-fuel generated energy and other consumables that stand in contrast to them. 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 better understand how solutions begin with individuals and how they can contribute to collective action.
We are dedicating a portion of our website to the project which, along with updates on our intentions and timeline, will feature educational content about the building’s cutting-edge green technologies and community integrations. When circumstances and safety allow, the community will be invited to tour the building and learn more about it.
The project is being managed by a committee of our staff and governance members. Neumann Monson Architects of Iowa City are the lead designers.
The Stanley Center for Peace and Security is an endowed, private operating foundation funded by the long-term investment of our founders, Max and Betty Stanley, and the Stanley family. It is our intention to use a portion of our endowment to pay for all costs associated with the project and to not involve other public or private financing.
While we are pleased with and proud of the ways our staff has handled a transition to temporary, full-time remote work, we know that we do not want to work that way permanently. We find tremendous value in being present with each other, supporting each other, and collaborating with each other in ways that go beyond virtual communication. The COVID-19 pandemic will influence our design choices by incorporating the flexibility to maintain physical distance and expanding the office’s ability to support remote work and programming whenever necessary. However, we expect the building to be complete in Spring 2022, after the need to work remotely due to the pandemic is over, providing a space for our staff to work with renewed dedication to our mission and tangible proof of a bright future.
We are pleased to have been a tenant of the Laurel Building’s owners, Stanley Consultants, since 1998. Stanley Consultants and the Stanley Center celebrate our mutual founder—Max Stanley—and an enduring friendship as two separate entities, and we will cooperate in all ways possible as they assess the future of the two floors we occupy.
Follow us on Twitter at @StanleyConnect for news about our #StanleyGreenHome.
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Check back on this page for updates on the Stanley Center’s Living Building. For inquiries about the project, please contact Mark Seaman.