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Updated 11:00 AM December 19, 2003



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Restored Hill to shine again with Jan. 8 reopening

A cultural icon of the campus and city, the newly restored Hill Auditorium reopens Jan. 8 with a vibrant look and updated features.

The public is invited to a free program beginning at 1 p.m. that will include music and the spoken word.

Visitors will see that the paint scheme has been restored to the original Arts and Crafts period of a range of warm grays, blues, blue-grays, green-grays, golds and deep red-browns. The brilliant lighting design, also true to the original, accents the distinctive parabolic performance space.

Self-guided tours will follow the program, allowing visitors to explore the paint restoration of the first-floor lobby, and a new sound lock created to reduce outside noises that once reached the performance hall.

Visitors can take advantage of two new elevators and two new staircases to reach the upper and lower levels of the auditorium. A new lobby created in a lower level space, named the Elizabeth E. Kennedy Lobby and made possible by a $2 million gift from the Elizabeth E. Kennedy Fund, not only offers an area for socializing but includes a rotating exhibit of rare offerings from the University's Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments. The project also supplies additional seating for handicapped patrons and improved lobby space on the second and third levels, as well as updated infrastructure.

Hill Auditorium was dedicated June 25, 1913. It was built at a cost of $282,000, unequipped, and was designed by Detroit architect Albert Kahn and his associate Ernest Wilby. The bulk of the funding ($200,000) was bequeathed to the University by Arthur Hill (1847-1909), who served as regent of the University from 1901-09. With the exception of minor improvements, the four-story brick and stone building had been renovated only once before, in 1949.

More information about the history of Hill Auditorium and the latest renovation and restoration can be found at The Web site offers visitors an opportunity to record their memories of the auditorium.

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