Cullen auditorium is undergoing renovations beginning this June or July and construction is expected to last until late spring of 2022. In addition to the extensive renovations, a name change is being discussed and the Board of Trustees will be voting on a new name by the end of the semester.
The construction project will cost $9.25 million and is being funded predominantly by donors. A portion of the project is university funded.
It has been over a decade since Cullen was last renovated, when new seats were put in. This year’s renovations will include a brand new lobby, an expanded backstage area, wheelchair accessible restrooms, new lights, sound systems, and screens. New paint, flooring, carpet, and air conditioning will also be installed.
The process leading up to Cullen’s renovations started three years ago. The vision for an updated entertainment space at ACU began with Dr. Gary McCaleb, vice president of the university. The College of Arts and Sciences, the music department, and the theatre department have all been highly involved in casting the vision for the new space.
The building is currently used for cornerstone classes, concerts, and musical performances. After the renovations are complete the music and theatre departments are both anticipating hosting many more performances in the auditorium.
The theatre department, which currently does not host its performances in Cullen, is excited to utilize the space. The theatre department’s shows, currently held at the Abilene Convention Center, can seat an audience of 2,100. The newly renovated theatre will seat just 800.
“I love that Cullen auditorium will allow us to produce some shows that will bring the audience in, in a more intimate way,” said Dawne Meeks, chair of the theatre department, “I am hoping to have Shakespeare in the summer, dance performances, and many other theatre opportunities there.”
In 2022, the homecoming musical will be returning to campus at the newly-renovated theatre, fulfilling many of the alumni donor’s goals of “bringing homecoming home.” The event has been held at the convention center for decades because ACU has lacked a space with an updated facility and equipment.
“The design of Cullen is meant to bring more entertainment to campus,” said Kevin Campbell, senior vice president for operations, “we are hoping to see the impact of getting people to stay on campus and creating a greater sense of community among alumni and students.”