OBU officially kicked off the renovation of Ford Hall Wednesday, Aug. 30. Members of the OBU community gathered at Ford Hall to write scriptures and prayers on the floors and walls of the building.
Ford Hall, previously Ford Music Hall, is the primary practice facility for OBU’s Division of Music and has provided a space for generations of students to hone their musical talents. The building was constructed in 1951 after a generous donation from the Ford family. With the building in need of update and repairs for today’s students, a new vision has emerged for the future of this iconic OBU landmark.
Dr. Chris Mathews, dean of the Warren M. Angell College of Fine Arts, anticipates Ford Hall becoming a place for the entire college to develop and hone their talents.
“For nearly seven decades, the walls of Ford Music Hall have reverberated with the sounds of OBU students developing their music skills, building friendships, making memories and preparing to impact the world for the glory of God,” Mathews said. “Now, as we once again benefit from the kindness of our friends and donors, Ford Hall is being prepared for this and future generations as a space where students from throughout the Warren M. College of Fine Arts will hone their skills as musicians, artists, debaters and actors in a creative, collaborative and inspiring environment.”
From a construction standpoint, the renovation will cost $1.5 million. Friends of the university have provided resources for the initial construction, but the university is still seeking support for furnishing the building, including audio equipment, instruments and furniture.
Dr. Will Smallwood, senior vice president for advancement and university relations, recognizes the impact of the Ford family on OBU.
“From the beginning, donors have helped to provide resources and facilities to help OBU carry out its mission,” Smallwood said. “In 1951, the Ford family provided the lead gift for the construction of Ford Music Hall. Since then, they have continued investing alongside countless alumni and friends to make the renovation of Ford Hall a reality. Today, we celebrate their investment and are grateful for their continued impact on Bison Hill.”
Lingo Construction, a company out of Oklahoma City, is performing the renovation. The first floor of Ford Hall is being updated with a new foyer, modernized practice rooms and a recording space. The second floor will contain new offices, art studios, music practice rooms and a large classroom that will also serve as a piano lab. The top floor will retain much of its classic look. The floor will include two grand pianos, a piano pedagogy lab, a student gathering place and an art and animation lab. The third floor will also house a large practice space, the Bison Glee Club’s rehearsal room and a recording studio. The building will be updated with keyless card access and new heating, ventilation and air conditioning.
The renovation is expected to reach completion in late December. A date for the official grand opening is yet to be announced.