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Renovations to Hill Hall will include naming its auditorium for former Chancellor James Moeser and his wife, Susan.
Work will center on improvements to Hill Hall’s rotunda and 550-seat auditorium in the century-old building, which originally served as the University’s first library. The total cost of the project is estimated at $15 million — $5 million each from the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust, the office of the provost and a fundraising effort of the College of Arts and Sciences.
Work is expected to begin in 2015 and will take two years to complete.
Moeser, the University’s chancellor from 2000 to 2008, is a renowned organ recitalist, church musician and teacher. Susan Moeser holds the title of University organist and is a lecturer in the music department. She earned a doctor of musical arts in organ performance from the University of Kansas.
The name will be the “James and Susan Moeser Auditorium.”
Major upgrades will transform the lobby rotunda to an expanded and light-filled space suitable for receptions and intermissions. The auditorium lacks air conditioning, making it essentially unusable in the summer. That will change, with plans for a climate-control system, state-of-the-art acoustical treatments, a professional-grade stage and a piano and equipment lift.
Included will be an enhanced backstage area with updated green rooms and storage, improved lighting, piano preservation facilities, additional practice rooms, and improved administrative and teaching spaces adjacent to the rotunda.
The cornerstone for the original building was laid on June 1, 1907, in a Masonic ceremony. Funded by Andrew Carnegie, the building served as the University’s first consolidated library. In 1918-19, it was the headquarters for Carolina Playmakers when Thomas Wolfe ’20 was a member. The music department moved into the building in 1930 and was renamed Hill Hall for alumnus and trustee John Sprunt Hill (class of 1889) and his family, who funded renovations that included a new auditorium and organ. The Hill Hall annex, built in 1963, is not included in the renovations.