Fashion students find inspiration in new Terrace Hall studios

Forms sit in a storage space in the new studio in Terrace Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017.

Ella Abbott

Kent State’s fashion students have found a home away from home in Terrace Hall, where the school has added four new studio spaces and nine office spaces.

The expansion became a necessity as the Fashion School has continued to grow to a point where Rockwell Hall alone can no longer contain it. The school underwent a re-accreditation review from the National Association of Schools of Art and Design last year.

“One of the comments of recommendation from the visiting team was just that we, clearly with the size of our population, would benefit from and really probably need to have more studio spaces,” said J.R. Campbell, the director of the Fashion School. 

Over the last ten years, the Fashion School has seen a consistent increase of nearly 20 percent to the incoming class each year, Campbell added.

This year was the first time it was less than that, with the number staying about the same as it was as the Fall 2016 semester.

The studio spaces will bring more design time for students. Both Rockwell and Terrace Halls are scheduled to be open from 6 a.m. until midnight, but Campbell hopes to eventually have a 24-hour studio available to design students.

“I really want to encourage our students to think wisely about how they plan and use their time,” Campbell said. “But there could potentially be a rationale for having it be more of an open studio space in the long term.”

The Army ROTC program also utilizes Terrace Hall, with the Fashion School occupying the second floor.

Due to lack of signs, the studios can be difficult to locate for students unfamiliar with the area.

“It was hard to find, because it’s new,” said Ashley Murauskas, a sophomore fashion design major. “I had so many people late to class. It says ‘ROTC building’ and you have to kind of go behind it and some of the doors were locked.”

Murauskas added another issue is little access to resources that are housed in Rockwell, such as the TechStyleLAB and light boxes.

Campbell said he likes to be mindful of sustainability when developing new fashion spaces. For Terrace Hall, this meant reusing old architecture and interior design program drafting tables by having new surfaces put on them and adding castor wheels.

The hope for the studies is to foster creativity and cooperation between students.

Murauskas said the wide-open space and vibrant colors of the studios allow her to work better. 

“I feel like I can be more creative in that space,” Murauskas said. “It’s really nice.”

Spencer Forrest, a freshman fashion design major, echoed that sentiment, commending the space for its lack of a traditional classroom feel.

“Rockwell kind of sticks with the grey, white, cream, beige schematic throughout with the marble on the museum side,” Forrest said. “In Terrace, there’s a little more color on the walls. Not much more, but I would say it fosters creativity in that sense.”

Over the years, the Fashion School has found itself sharing buildings to accommodate its large population.

Freshmen and sophomore lectures are housed in the theater in the Music and Speech Building due to large class sizes.

“Almost all of the sections that we could offer in the Fashion School were almost always full,” Campbell said. “That’s a good thing, but it’s also stressful if we can’t fit into any more spaces.”

It’s hard to say if Terrace Hall will be a permanent home. Until 2006, the building was larger and housed a residence hall. After the demolition of the front half of the building to make room for more parking, it became the Army ROTC building.

Campbell’s hope is to eventually create an addition to Rockwell Hall, but he’s grateful for the time put into the new space to have it finished and ready for students and faculty at the beginning of the semester.

“In a university environment, such as Kent State, you can never really be sure where we’ll head,” Campbell said.

Ella Abbott is the fashion reporter. Contact her at [email protected].