Renovations to begin for Rockwell Hall

Morgan Jupina

Rockwell Hall will undergo renovations to the third floor beginning in May to expand learning space for fashion students.The alterations will increase the number of studios from four to six, giving students greater opportunities for knowledge and access.J.R. Campbell, director of the Fashion School, said the building was originally designed to hold about 250 students. He said the school currently has nearly 1,400 students and is continuing on an upward trend.“The real constraint is that the studio, in terms of the curricular structure and the physical space, just can’t have that many students in them at any given time,” Campbell said.Campbell said undergraduate admission rates are very high and have caused an increased demand in classroom scheduling.“It will help us as a school to schedule more effectively into those studios and provide access in a more open, visible way,” Campbell said. “We literally would not have been able to schedule all of our classes if we hadn’t been approved to renovate this space.”The TechStyleLAB, located on the first floor, will be moved to the third floor above the atrium and encompassed in glass.“It puts the TechStyleLAB and the use of technology in a little bit more of a prominent position in the building, it makes it more visible and it makes it accessible both to students and to the public,” Campbell said.The sewing machines and dress forms in the lower-level studio will also move to the third floor. Campbell said the room will be replaced by an open-classroom-studio space.Michelle Milfort, sophomore fashion design major, said she hopes the renovation makes the studios less cramped.“It’s a hassle with space issues,” Milfort said. “Hopefully they create a room where it’s all in one, as in work space, sewing machines and enough room.”Noel Palomo-Lovinski, associate fashion design and merchandising professor, said the school adopted the philosophy of combining illustration and sewing as the greatest advantage for design students. She said the renovation will be very beneficial.“The new layout of the classrooms will facilitate the ability to combine the toolsets for a more in-depth look at process when designing rather than just skill sets,” Palomo-Lovinski said.She said the design at Rockwell Hall has made it difficult to house an overflowing amount of students.“We have a lot of wasted space, and we are bursting at the seams, no pun intended,” Palomo-Lovinski said.Campbell said the project will cost close to $600,000. He said the source of monetary income will be matched halfway by Kent’s budget office and halfway by the Fashion School’s budget and grants funded to the school.Campbell said the renovation will be completed by the Fall 2013 semester.“We’re helping everyone better witness where some of the higher-level thinking occurs or where some innovation can be explored in a way that will inform the industry,” Campbell said.Morgan Jupina is the School of fashion reporter for The Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].