Sentinels - CODAworx

Client: Central College

Location: Pella, IA, United States

Completion date: 2020

Artwork budget: $100,000

Project Team


RDG Art Studio


Central College

Landscape Architect

RDG Planning & Design

Lighting Design

RDG Planning & Design

Graphic Design

RDG Planning & Design

Engineering Design

RDG Planning & Design


KPFF Consulting Engineers

Metal Fabrication

Iowa Metal Fabrication

Stone & Overall Installation

Country Stonemasons


Eagle Electric


Goldray Industries, Inc


Gyford Standoff Systems


Central College has a storied past filled with examples of students and staff dedicating themselves to the ideals of our nation through military service. As part of a renovation master plan, the Peace Mall Garden and Amphitheater, located in the heart of campus, is an opportunity to honor these stories by giving them a physical space dedicated to the remembrance of Central College’s past. The ten-foot-high installation “Sentinels” flanks the entrance to the Peace Mall and displays over 1200 names etched in glass. This veterans’ memorial honors those who have sacrificed to serve our country.


The donor’s desire to create a meaningful and significant memorial and tribute to those students and staff that have served in our country’s military was the foremost objective. The placement of the memorial was to be in a both conspicuous and momentous place in the Peace Mall. Knowing the College leadership desired that this memorial last for decades, it was to be made from durable and resilient materials such as glass, stone and metal. A nighttime presence and the desire for extended hours of use established a need for accent lighting. A limited budget necessitated an innovative and prudent design, straightforward fabrication installation. With an emphasis on representing all who served, a gender-neutral design was essential.


We worked closely with Central College to research and verify over 1,200 faculty, staff, and students who served in the military in times of war and of peace, and to emphasize those who were killed in service of our country. One of the most challenging aspects of the design and fabrication process was the articulation and representation of a soldier that was gender neutral. Working together with Central College, we crafted a figure to represent all soldiers. Lighting was a significant part of the design not only light the Sentinels, but to highlight the names of those who have served. The narrow design tolerance and assembly of the stone, metal plates, glass, and lights, required a complex collaboration between the artist, mason, metal fabricator and the electrician.

Additional Information

Dimensions of the Sentinels – each marker: 3.5’x1’x10’ Fourteen additional locations in the garden will host smaller art pieces that symbolize important historical moments in the timeline of Central College. The first smaller art marker to be installed at the same time as “Sentinels” was the marker entitled “Resilience.” This piece was a representative recreation of the Old Main bell which survived two fires. It embolizes the resilience of the College from its beginnings to present day. Dimensions of the Resilience marker are 2’x1’x5.5’.