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"Groundbreaking” for The Forum project held at Lied Center

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Studio 804 students who’ve been busily constructing the concrete frame for The Forum recently took a break from the subfreezing weather to join alumni, and friends of the School. They gathered at the Lied Center to celebrate commencement of construction for the 3,000 square-foot extension to Marvin Hall. It will include a commons area, and 120-seat auditorium.

With Richard Avedon-like portraits of the students, and a shimmering model of the extension of Marvin Hall as his backdrop Studio 804 director Dan Rockhill said, “This is the biggest class project in the 19-year history of Studio 804, but the 18 in the class students are absolutely the best we’ve ever had. They’re warriors.”

Dean John Gaunt agreed and said, “The Forum’s value and meaning goes way beyond its physical dimensions. What’s important is what it will mean to us as a school, and what it will mean to the university. We’re going to be really proud of it because it is going to be an elegant building.”

But, he outlined the challenges ahead saying, “We’re doing it pretty much ourselves, and we can’t do it without help from our friends. There’s going to be some heavy lifting on the part of the students, but there is also heavy lifting in another sense: We have a $2 million project that we must support ourselves, through private fundraising and industry partnerships.

“The Forum is going to provide a center for collaboration, information, where people can get together to exhibit the work, to get together, and listen and learn. We’re going to have a real place for all the things we need to do together, among ourselves and with our supporters.”

Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little reminded the audience of what Studio 804 means to KU. She said, “Studio 804 is a prime example of a program that prepares students for life after graduation, while at the same time allowing them to make a contribution while they are here at the university. 

“The Forum is the latest in a group of innovative projects they’ve done,” she continued. “These buildings also exceed their physical dimensions. I want to congratulate the students, Dan Rockhill, and everyone who has been involved in preparing for this project.”

Jonathan Wilde, a Studio 804 student concluded, “Since I learned what this project would be, I’ve been living a dream: to build something that will have lasting significance to the School. For me, and those working on the project, right now our life is Studio 804.

“But it’s totally worth it,” he continued. “That’s not to mention how special this project is. We hope that you feel as much a part of this project as we do, and we thank you for your support, past, present and future.”

Learn more about this exciting project at The Forum website, www.theforumku.info.