McCain Auditorium lobby expansion underway

The McCain Lobby Expansion Project, when completed, will cost about $6 million in all. (Dylan Connell | Collegian Media Group)

After years of planning and fundraising, McCain Auditorium is undergoing expansion for the first time it was built in 1970.

“Planning for the renovation project began as part of our participation in the K-State 2025 planning process in 2013,” Todd Holmberg, executive director of McCain, said.

The KSU Foundation raised $6 million toward the McCain Lobby Expansion Project, after it was approved by the President’s Cabinet and the Kansas Board of Regents in 2018.

“Plans for the lobby renovation include an outdoor plaza area for students and patrons to relax and engage during outdoor events,” Holmberg said.

The indoor space will be expanded for increased circulation and special events for faculty, students and the public, Holmberg said, and will include more bathrooms, concessions areas, a coat check, merchandise and a larger, more efficient box office area.

“On the second level will be a large multipurpose room for more engagement opportunities for students such as workshops and seminars with artists we bring to McCain,” Homberg said. “It will also serve as an event space for our donors, general patrons and the campus-wide community.”

Christian Peek, junior in social sciences, said that due to COVID-19, he has not been able to use the building often, however last year it was a staple place for him.

(Dylan Connell | Collegian Media Group)
When finished, the McCain Lobby Expansion Project will feature an outdoor plaza area. (Dylan Connell | Collegian Media Group)

“I’m excited, I think the renovations are good and they’re going to expand it, make it look nicer, and it’s going to have a better feel,” Peek said.

The staff also has recognized the role of the building has changed since the pandemic.

“When plans were laid for the renovation, we had no inkling of the pandemic that we all would be experiencing right now,” Linda Cook, chief of staff and director of community relations, said. “Hopefully, by the time the new lobby is open, we will be well past the pandemic and ready to celebrate what this new space and the arts have to offer us.”

Holmberg said he’s hopeful for the future.

“Students will be proud to attend a university who values the impact the arts can have on their overall K-State experience,” Holmberg said.