McCain Auditorium is currently undergoing a $6.3 million construction project for its lobby — its first renovation since it was built in 1970. Todd Holmberg, executive director of McCain, said construction crews are working steadily and should complete renovations by late May or early June.
“Construction crews are working on plumbing, electrical and drywalling,” Holmberg said. “The exterior cladding and interior final finishing work will take place in April and May.”
The main purpose of the construction is to update the auditorium lobby. Linda Cook, chief of staff and director of community relations, said the renovations will benefit Kansas State and the Manhattan community.
“The lobby renovation will enable the university to serve more people, from K-State students to local K-12 students, and from K-State faculty and staff to public citizens from around the region,” Cook said.
The renovation includes many new features that will benefit visitors during their time in McCain.
“The lobby area will contain more restrooms, dedicated areas for concessions, coat check, merchandise sales, larger and more efficient ticket offices, an expanded administrative office suite with a conference room, and a multipurpose room,” Holmberg said.
The construction, while mostly centered around McCain’s lobby space, will also add an outdoor plaza area for community members to enjoy.
“The new and improved McCain Auditorium lobby space will have an outside plaza area for campus and community members to engage with each other, hang out and to enjoy outdoor events,” Holmberg said.
The renovations are working towards the future visionary plan for K-State’s campus and the excitement of bringing more performances to McCain.
“It aligns with the university’s 2025 Visionary Plan and supports a stronger cultural future for our community by attracting, even more, high-caliber and diverse performances to Manhattan,” Cook said.
The improvements are being paid fully by private funds that have been raised in the past few years, from individual donations and other private areas.
“All monies used for the lobby project were raised from private funds, mostly from dedicated and loyal donors who have appreciated the McCain Performance Series’ programming and community and campus impact over many years,” Holmberg said. “No state or tuition dollars were used to fund this lobby renovation. Raising private funds for this lobby renovation has been ongoing for several years.”
Cook said she thinks the reopening of McCain will be a bright spot in allowing people to gather and engage.
“The resumption of shows — whenever that may be — will signal the end of the pandemic, the completion of McCain Auditorium’s first major renovation project and the end of a year marking the 50th anniversary of the building,” Holmberg said. “There will be much to celebrate.”