Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Historic Hogg Auditorium renovations completed after decade of waiting

William Whitworth
Hogg Memorial Auditorium post renovations on Oct. 31, 2023.

Students, faculty and alumni filled the lobby of the newly restored Hogg Memorial Auditorium on Nov. 3 to celebrate the grand re-opening of the space after a two-year renovation project. 

But for Ashley Hayes, who served as vice president of UT’s Student Government from 2011-2012, the process leading to this occasion began more than a decade ago. While on the Forty Acres, Hayes said she saw the auditorium’s potential and pushed to make the renovation a reality.

“(The Hogg Auditorium) back then was under the auspices of the College of Fine Arts,” Hayes said. “Hogg was underutilized because it was in a little bit of disrepair.”

Hayes said she approached Dr. Soncia Reagins-Lilly, vice president for student affairs and dean of students, to ask whether the Hogg Auditorium could be fixed up and made available for student organizations in need of a large space for events. This led to a series of meetings ending with the dean of the COFA, who considered moving ownership of the auditorium to another department.

“The University Unions put in some money to renovate the space to get it back into a place that was usable for student events,” Hayes said. “It was 2013 (when) students would be able to start utilizing it, so that was the turning point.”

During Hayes’ senior year, the auditorium’s ownership began switching hands, so she never saw the project come to full fruition herself. But after the 2013 improvements, the administration and SG continued working on the project, with the goal of finding $27 million in the budget to put into the full-blown renovation’s completion.

“For a project of that magnitude (and) the approvals that would need to occur, we had to start well before the two years where the facility was actually down for the renovation,” said James Buckley, director of facilities and operations for the University Unions. “By that point, we knew the box we were playing in.”

At the opening ceremony, Reagins-Lilly said the initial renovations focused on upgrading the space’s audiovisual capabilities, but once planners acquired the full project budget in 2021, major revampings were finally possible. The improvements included redoing the roof to prevent leakage, filling in the auditorium’s orchestra pit, reconfiguring the front lobby, replacing the old heating and plumbing systems and adding accessibility features for audience members.

“We did modernize the building, but we definitely honored the past and took great care and detail to refurbish where we could to keep those historic elements relevant and a part of the building,” Buckley said.

Cade Young, chair of the board of directors for the University Unions and finance senior, introduced the inaugural performance from Gary Clark, Jr. on Oct. 27 and experienced the new, high-quality space. 

“I’m really excited to bring students back in and help (them) find out what this is,” Young said. “A lot of them don’t even know that we have it, don’t know the rich history that it holds and don’t know what it could be going forward. Those three things are important for students to know.”

Hayes and Reagins-Lilly reunited at the re-opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony, where Hayes spoke to the crowd about the bright future awaiting the Hogg Auditorium.

“Always remember that your work on the Forty Acres is important, big or small, and I encourage you to keep it up,” Hayes said. “Who knows? You too could be the next student leader to embark on a project that might take over 10 years to happen, but one day will come to fruition.”


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