UT to begin renovations on Hogg Memorial Auditorium to improve safety, accessibility

Joelle DiPaolo, News Reporter

UT will start renovations next month to the Hogg Memorial Auditorium, a popular venue for student and University events, to address safety deficiencies and make the building more accessible.

The renovations to the 88-year-old building will allow the auditorium to continue to be used in the future, University spokesperson Eliska Padilla said in an email. She said renovations are expected to be completed by April 2023.

The renovations will include Americans with Disabilities Act compliance upgrades, such as installing a permanent wheelchair lift for the stage and better accessibility in seating areas and restrooms, media manager Veronica Trevino said in an email. Other renovations will include upgrades to electrical and plumbing systems, new seating in the auditorium and a new roof, Trevino said. 

The UT Board of Regents approved the project, which is expected to cost over $27 million and is funded by the Available University Funds and Revenue Financing Bonds, Padilla said. 

“Following renovation, Hogg Memorial Auditorium will be a safer venue for performers, workers and patrons,” Padilla said. “Users of the facility will have a much better experience whether it is for orientation, graduation or special events.” 

Cassidy Sansone, assistant director of student programs for University Unions, said the auditorium is an important multipurpose space for students because staff at the venue typically allow student leaders to take charge of the events they plan. 

“(The staff are) always interested in making sure that the student vision is achievable, and they are great about providing the tools to do that,” Sansone said. “They really want to make sure that every event that happens in Hogg for students is what the students envision.” 

Trevino said student organizations and University offices that hold events at the venue were notified about the renovations before they began. Sansone said programs held in the auditorium by Events and Entertainment will relocate to different venues such as the Shirley Bird Perry Ballroom. 

Although the renovation will cause some events to be worked around, Sansone said she thinks the upgrades are an opportunity to make the auditorium a more universal space for the UT community. 

“I feel like that building is special,” Sansone said. “It should be a crown jewel of our campus in terms of student usage. It’s such a multi-purpose space and I think this renovation is going to bring it into modern times and make it even more accessible for people.”