Union Drive wall joins beautification projects

The cast stones have arrived from an Omaha fabricator so work can proceed in earnest to construct an engraved 3.5-foot-tall wall on Union Drive opposite the Memorial Union.

ISU wall is located between the MU fountain and the campanile

An altered image of the Iowa State University Wall, situated between the Fountain of the Four Seasons (foreground) and the campanile. Photo courtesy of facilities planning and management.

In a heavily traveled part of campus, the wall literally will put a name on the place. The curved 43-foot-wide wall will contain the "Iowa State University" nameplate in 14-inch engraved and shaded letters. The project also includes a disc of colored pavement between the sidewalk and the wall, a front bed of annual flowers and back landscaping of flowering shrubs and perennial flowers. From sunset to sunrise, the wall will be illuminated by ground lights.

Wall construction is scheduled for completion by July 31, with landscaping installed by Aug. 10.

Located between two Iowa State icons -- the campanile and Christian Petersen's Fountain of the Four Seasons sculpture -- the Iowa State University Wall may join them someday as 'most beloved spots to take a photograph.'

"We don't have any place on central campus that identifies Iowa State University," said associate vice president for facilities Dave Miller, who proposed the idea for the wall. "I think this could become something that will be in every university calendar, where students and alumni will want their picture taken."

Campus beautification focus

The wall project is part of a three-year (FY14-16), $3 million campus beautification effort requested by President Steven Leath. The funds will be distributed among projects to improve building entries (for example, Gilman and Curtiss halls), first-floor hallways (Physics, Carver), landscaping and tree trimming (Beardshear, Carver plaza) and gathering/meeting spaces. It also will fund several special high-impact projects, of which the wall and this summer's Hub plaza are examples. Projects vary in size from $25,000 to $270,000. The budget for the wall project, which involved relocating a fire hydrant, is $170,000.

Some of next year's beautification funds will be used to enhance the north lawn of the Memorial Union, and Miller said the wall project will tie in to new paved areas, seating and landscaping across Union Drive when that work wraps up next summer.