The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


White and Gold: Inside McFarlin’s makeover

McFarlin Auditorium is currently undergoing renovations and should be completed in late September. (Courtesy of SMU)

McFarlin is well on its way to a makeover. The campus’ third oldest building will be opened after phase one of its remodel at the Tate Lecture Series’ first show in late September.

“The renovation is going to be eye opening,” McFarlin Director of Operations Denton Bricker said. “It’s a hidden gem on campus, and maybe one of our best kept secrets. It really is the new McFarlin.”

The renovation has added all new house lights and added new architectural features on the auditorium walls.

Restoration specialists Conrad Schmidt, who painted the Dallas Hall dome and Perkins Chapel, has added incredible painted detail to the walls and existing architecture.

“Before, the walls were painted one color called Aztec Gold. A lot of the relief was just lost,” Bricker said. “It looked flat.”

“Now, with the contrasting colors and gold leaf, you feel yourself asking, ‘Was that here before?’,” Manager of Operations Tamera Hurdle said.

Over 160 new light fixtures were added to highlight the detailed gold, white, and grey paint scheme. In addition, the auditorium, first opened in 1926, is reintroducing some original focal points that were covered up in a previous renovation.

Looking at a picture of McFarlin before the last renovation in 1962 that now resides in the lower level of the building, the team realized that the auditorium once featured stained glass windows.

“We believe they bricked up the windows, but there was a McFarlin M in the middle of the stained glass,” Bricker said. “We have been able to reproduce the M on the medallions in the cove of the ceiling.”

“We are always conscientious of taking McFarlin back and staying true to its historical integrity,” he added.

The cost of the renovation was not made available to The Daily Campus, though Bricker admits it is the “most significant” renovation since the 1960s. This makeover is only phase one as the auditorium’s floors and seats were not addressed. A future update has not been scheduled yet.

The renovation will hopefully make the space more appealing to concert and lecture promoters looking for a Dallas venue, he said, but McFarlin will still host Sing Song and the Family Weekend Talent show.

A conversation between Former U.S. Secretaries of State Colin L. Powell and Madeleine K. Albright moderated by political commentator and Tate Lecture staple David Gergen will kick off the updated auditorium. Usually, the venue’s season begins with Convocation, which was held in Moody Coliseum this year as a result of the renovations.

“When students first walk in for opening convocation, it’s one of the first experiences they have on campus,” Bricker said. “I think it will add to the prestige and the wonderful feeling you have when you’re sitting in your seat and realizing that you’re a part of this amazing experience.”

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