King memorial will get redesign over summer


Photo by Roxanne Ready

The area around AACC’s Martin Luther King Jr. memorial will receive a redesign this summer.

Alexandra Radovic, Associate Editor

The West Campus memorial where Maryland’s only statue of Martin Luther King Jr. stands will get a redesign over the summer.

AACC has chosen a design by first-year landscape architecture student Kathryn Ellerbrock that features native plants and blue rocks beneath benches to mimic the reflecting pool on the National Mall, where King led the famous March on Washington in 1963 to protest racial discrimination.

“My aim was to create a space that drew people in, while offering a peaceful and lively sanctuary,” Ellerbrock said. 

The statue will remain unchanged. 

“Right now it’s designed to walk up and read some plaques, but there is nothing really that would make people sit and contemplate or use it for any other space,” Robert Lowe, an architecture and landscape professor, said. 

Members of the Martin Luther King Breakfast and Dinner committees worked with Lowe to hold a design contest among AACC landscape architecture students.

Shawn Ashworth, who works with the Martin Luther King Breakfast Committee, attended one of Lowe’s classes last fall to discuss potential design plans with students. 

“When [the statue] first came to the college in 2006, it was supposed to be a connection with the public school system, including field trips and kids and people from all over the county and the state to come see this history,” Ashworth added. “That has not happened.” 

Ten students entered the competition, and AACC’s chief diversity officer Dr. Deidra Dennie approved the final design. 

Ellerbrock will receive a $1,000 scholarship for creating the winning design.

“I was feeling pretty overwhelmed by all the work other students were doing,” she said. “Finding out that my first major design was going to be installed was incredibly encouraging.”

Ashworth said she hopes community organizations will donate to the project by buying naming rights to the benches or donating to install bushes.  

“Basically the community is going to have to raise the money first, [and] then give the money to the college to do what needs to get done,” Ashworth said. 

Lowe said he expects the college will unveil the finished project by the start of the fall 2018 semester. 

“It’s pretty cool that a student design won,” said first-year biology student Anna Schollenberger. “It shows what students can do. … It reminds me of the Vietnam [Veterans] Memorial in [Washington] D.C., which was designed by an architecture student.” 

Photo courtesy of Kathryn Ellerbrock
First-year landscape architecture student Kathryn Ellerbrock, pictured here in a park off campus, won a contest to redesign AACC’s Martin Luther King Jr. memorial.