October 29, 2014

Dramatic Installation of Steel Columns Preps The Studios of Key West for Future Roof Garden

The Studios of Key West’s new art center in the heart of downtown Key West took a dramatic step forward with the installation of six 3-story-tall steel columns to hold the weight of the planned rooftop garden. General Contractors D.L. Porter closed the street for a giant crane to lift the steel above the rooftop and thread the columns through holes in each floor to the foundation below.

Dubbed “Hugh’s View,” the rooftop was made possible by a lead gift of $200,000 from Jeff and Rosi Ware, through the estate of Jeff’s father Hugh Ware, a WWII veteran who passed away May 15 of this year. Over $100,000 in additional gifts have been raised in Hugh’s name, enough to move the project forward for its completion in late 2015.

“The rooftop garden is the most ambitious part of the entire project, from an engineering and architectural point of view,” says Jed Dodds, The Studios’ Executive Director. “Once we get past this, we can start to see the finish line, and we’ll be on track to open in January.”

With breathtaking views from the Gulf to the Ocean, the rooftop garden will sit atop a brand new facility devoted to creative activity of all kinds – with studios and classrooms on the third floor, a 200 seat theater on the second floor, and exhibitions on the first. With a total construction budget of close to $3.5 million dollars, the renovation of the former Masonic Center at 533 Eaton Street is being done in phases, and fundraising is ongoing.

The public response to The Studios’ big move has been enormous. “Artists have been at the heart of Key West since the 1930’s,” says Dodds. “With this building, we’re making sure they’ll be there forever.”

Image credit: Rodger Stuart Davis