MPLS Commemorative Plaza Moving into Construction Phase

by Joan Duea | Mar 09, 2015

Last spring the Malcolm Price Laboratory School (MPLS) Plaza Committee shared information on the Laboratory School’s History Website about plans for the MPLS Commemorative Plaza, one of three projects initiated by the Ross A. Nielsen Board (RAN) and the Alumni and Friends of Malcolm Price Laboratory School (AFPLS) to preserve and commemorate the legacy of the school. Since then plans for the Plaza were launched with the unveiling of the design concept rendering at the AFPLS picnic on June 28, 2014.  The goal is to have the majority of the project constructed by late June 2015 with significant progress completed in time for the annual picnic in June. However, weather and various others factors may alter the construction schedule. 

For images and more information on the MPLS Memorial Plaza click on MPLS Plaza

How You Can Contribute

Over the past year, the MPLS Plaza Committee has continued to meet with constituents. We are excited to share that the necessary approvals have been secured to move forward with the project.

We are also excited to share that through many generous donations, we have raised the majority of the funding needed. With just a small amount left to be raised in order to begin the project, we would like to ask you to consider supporting the MPLS Commemorative Plaza through donations to the following areas:

1) PLS Commemorative Plaza - Limestone Benches ($1,000 each)
2) PLS Commemorative Plaza - Trees ($400 each)
3) PLS Commemorative Plaza - Amount of your choice for general support of the Plaza

Plaza donors will be recognized on the MPLS History website.

It is our goal to have the project funded in full by March 31, 2015.

To Donate go to Click “Donate” at the top and then the “Give Now” button on the right.  


About the MPLS Plaza

The MPLS Plaza was envisioned as being a contemplative and reflective space that would inform past and future generations of UNI faculty, staff, students, teachers, and community members who were part of the Laboratory School’s 129 year history, of its integral role and significant contributions to the University of Northern Iowa and impact in the field of education in the state and throughout the nation.

A location for the plaza was identified just south of where Malcolm Price Laboratory School once stood, close to the bridge crossing over the creek to the Towers dorms on the University of Northern Iowa campus.  The subcommittee recognized the advantages of tying the plaza to the natural landscape and having it located in close proximity to both the nearby bridge and the stream, serving as a “bridge” between the campus and the site of the Laboratory School, representative of the Lab School’s connection and significant role in serving teacher education and the University’s mission.

The plaza will include a defined area with trees leading to and from and surrounding the main space which is proposed to be a square area in the range of 65’x65’. The stone lintel that was originally above the front doors of the building facing Campus Street with the words “Laboratory School” engraved on it will serve as the main focal point and artwork for the plaza. The lintel will literally be cut in half lengthwise so that the wall will include the words “Laboratory School” printed on one side heading north and the “College of Education/University of Northern Iowa” printed on the other side facing south and will serve as a gateway to and from campus. There will be a walkway in the center of the wall designed to provide an intimate and active commemoration experience reminiscent of walking into the Laboratory School building. The original cornerstone identifying when the Laboratory School was constructed on Campus Street (1951) and another cornerstone reflecting when the school was originally established (1883) on campus will be placed on the walls. A QR code station will be installed on a wall section so visitors may access more information about the Laboratory School from the history website. The plaza will incorporate several of the actual physical components of the Laboratory School building including the lintel and cornerstone and it will include trees, landscaping, paving, benches and lighting to create a commemorative and reflective space.

Aesthetic qualities of the plaza will be unique yet aligned and unified with other entrances to campus and plaza areas such as that surrounding the Campanile. The plaza will be designed to recognize and give tribute to Malcolm Price Laboratory School by evoking the spirit of the school while adding beauty to the campus during the day and when lit up at night.

RAN/AFPLS Board MPLS Plaza Subcommittee:

Co-chairs: Jim Kelly and Lynn Dykstra
Committee Members: Sarah Eastman, Rick Knivsland and Bob Stephens

For questions regarding donations, contact Senior Director of Development-College of Education, Andrea Elliott at the UNI Foundation, or by calling 1-800-782-9522 

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