About a year ago, construction began on the Centennial Prayer Labyrinth located behind the Fine Arts building. Over the summer, phase one of the project was completed with the installation of lighting, landscaping and a paved walkway and platform. Recently, phase two has begun with the removal of the old, concrete benches.
Joe Royer, executive director of facilities and property management, has been one of many individuals working hard to make this plan a reality.
Royer explained that phase two of this project will involve laying concrete slabs, adding new benches, integrating lowlighting to the layout and designing a brick structure containing special display cases.
“There is going to be some ground lighting added around the labyrinth circle itself and some benches put in on the sidewalks there,” Royer explained. “There will be a brick structure, which will include some display cases that talk about who the donors are.”
Elyse Cromer, associate director of annual giving, is a member of the Centennial Prayer Labyrinth committee. According to Cromer, the plan is to install six new benches before homecoming weekend.
“The old benches were heavy concrete,” she explained. “We are doing new benches and they are going to be in the walkway leading up to the labyrinth. We are getting ready to do six of those before homecoming.”
Currently, the plan is that there will be a total of 12 benches, which have been paid for by donors.
To honor the donors, a structure will be made using bricks from the old Warner Auditorium building, where AU once held its graduation ceremonies, and where the Church of God convention was held for about 50 years. Atop the brick structure will sit a display case listing the names of those who donated to the prayer labyrinth.
According to Cromer, more landscaping will be added to the labyrinth, as well as a bell from AU’s past.
“We want to add even more landscaping and make it look like more of a garden area around the walkway and labyrinth,” said Cromer. “There will also be a bell that we found that was left from when the auditorium was there. That’s going to be built into the brick structure.”
Cromer hopes that the prayer labyrinth will be used as a quiet place used for reflection for students.
“We want it to be a nice place of reflection and rest,” she said. “We want people to be able to come and gather there. We also just want it to be a focal point on campus for people to have a spiritual connection.
According to Cromer, this unique area on campus can serve numerous purposes.
“Maybe students want to sit and reflect before they go into the labyrinth, or maybe they want to meet other people and talk for awhile, then they can do the labyrinth together as a group,” she said. “We want to make sure that there are lots of opportunities to do the labyrinth in lots of different ways.”