The Prayer Alcove was completed in March 2005 as a finishing touch to the Kardatzke Wellness Center and a place where students and faculty can pray and reflect.
Planning for the Prayer Alcove dates back to the design phase of the Wellness Center, although its construction was postponed until after the facility was in use and its purpose was better understood.
The financial piece fell into place in 2003 when Ron and Carol Baker of Ohio made a contribution in support of the project, and in honor of retiring university Vice President Ron Moore for his 38 years of service.
Students in the Anderson University Department of Art and Design competed for the opportunity to design the alcove, presenting their ideas to a committee. The ideas selected were those of Jennifer Ferguson, Sarah Crosley, and Kim Weller, who interviewed Wellness Center patrons and found the majority preferred a space that mirrored the elements found in nature.
The long-awaited Prayer Alcove does just that, inviting people to kneel at its alter or sit on the cool benches that line the wall. It has been set apart from the bustle of the Wellness Center, but remains connected to the facility to symbolize the vital link between physical and spiritual wellness.
Features of the Alcove
The Prayer Wall
The mounted cross is the focal point of the Prayer Alcove. It serves as an alter for those coming to pray, but is close enough for patrons to reach out and touch it.
Purchasing almost six tons of stone for the wall, Frederick’s Construction in Anderson pieced the wall together with mortar, paying careful attention to the shape and dimensions of each rock.
The cross itself is made out of wood. Under the watchful eyes of student designers, Frederick’s employees took special care with a hammer, chipping away pieces of wood to make the cross appear more rugged. The wood was then assembled and stained.
The Tree of Life
The stained glass window is a critical element of the Prayer Alcove and represents the Tree of Life. Filtering light from the outside, the window brings color and creates a feeling of reverence and tranquility.
It was also one of the trickiest and most time-consuming elements of the alcove as Ferguson, Crosley, and Weller drew a lifesize sketch of the window and passed it along to Moss Stained Glass in Anderson. The glass company drew on top of the students’ sketch exactly where the glass pieces would go. In all, it took more than a month to assemble the window using hot lead, and less than two hours to install.