Indiana State University Newsroom

Student team wins Meis Plaza design competition

May 23, 2012

The Indiana State University Foundation has announced CSW Design Team as the winner of the Meis Plaza design competition.

Team members were Andrea Cole, a senior interior architecture design major from Greenfield; Sarah Stetter, a senior interior architecture design major from St. Anthony; and Julie Whitaker, a junior human and environmental systems major from New Palestine.

"It was great to work in a group and I really got to understand better how to work with a client, other trades, and a landscape architect," Cole said. "Winning this project was humbling and extremely exciting. I have never won a competition of this caliber before and I now know that my hard work can really pay off. I am so honored that our groups design will live on at ISU and I can take this experience with me into the professional world."

The competition served as an experiential learning opportunity for Indiana State students to design the Meis Plaza, located outside the ISU Foundation office at Fifth and Cherry Street. For the competition, student teams created detailed concept proposals. Designs incorporated the current plaza features of the sculpture, "Renewal," and donor named gardens, "Samantha's Gardens," designing functional public and event space.

"Our objective is to make Meis Plaza a campus destination," said Kim Bloch, the foundation's director of communications. "The winning team's design truly captures a multi-purpose space in an innovative and unique way."

The panel of judges who selected the winning design noted its use of creativity and flexibility within the space. The design concept,

"Encompassing Points of Interest," uses curved shapes, a variety of sustainable materials, and enhanced garden areas to compliment the Foundation building and existing plaza features. It also draws on warm tones with splashes of Sycamore blue to "invigorate the mind and emphasize the focal points," the judges said.

Meis Plaza was funded through a gift from Lu and Laney Meis of Terre Haute. As the couple is an advocate and supporter of the Arts in the Wabash Valley, the plaza will be a prominent downtown feature.

Laney Meis, who has served as chair of the State Arts Commission, is a founding member on the Wabash Valley Art Spaces board.

"It's been exciting to be a part of a project that is a total collaboration between the public and private sectors, along with Indiana State University students," she said. "It shows what terrific things can be accomplished with this kind of cooperation." The plaza is also home to "Renewal" by Tim Upham of Fort Collins, Colo. The sculpture is part of the Wabash Valley public art collection that was made possible through the Meises' philanthropy and a partnership with Art Spaces. "Renewal" incorporates the university's iconic sycamore leaf into the design of the sculpture and is constructed of stainless steel, white painted metal and thousands of cobalt blue glass marbles.

"We based our design off of ‘Renewal,' said student Sarah Stetter. "We tried to encompass points of interest while also tying the architectural elements of the building and the shape of the sculpture together."

The student team's community mentor for the competition, Andy Verdeyen, will serve as project coordinator. Verdeyen, a Terre Haute native, is the owner of Verdeyen Group, a landscaping and architectural company based in Indianapolis. The landscaping design for Meis Plaza will be completed this fall with dedication to take place during ISU Homecoming activities.

Photo: - Indiana State University students Andrea Cole, Sarah Stetter and Julie Whitaker had the winning design for Meis Plaza, located outside the ISU Foundation Building at Fifth and Cherry streets.

Photo: - This artist's rendering depicts what Meis Plaza outside the Indiana State University Foundation will look like. A team of three ISU students had the winning design in a competition sponsored by the foundation.

Media Contact: Kim Bloch, director of communications, Indiana State University Foundation,, 812-514-8486