210 Pittsboro Street
Campus Box 6210
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-6210

T 919-962-2091
F 919-962-2279

Fact Sheet

For immediate use 

May 2, 2005 -- No. 218

‘New’ Memorial Hall equipped
for comfort of audiences, performers


The UNC Board of Trustees approved a design in May 2001. After designs were completed and bids selected, construction began in May 2003. The project is slated for completion early in June.

Architects: Calloway Johnson Moore & West, Winston-Salem

General Contractor: T.A. Loving Co., Goldsboro


$10.8 million, Higher Education Bond Referendum passed in 2000 by N.C. voters.

$5.1 million, private donations

$1.2 million, University funds

$800,000, Advance planning funds from the N.C. General Assembly

$181,080, UNC receipt-funded utilities trust fund

TOTAL: $17,981,080


Jim and Pam Heavner of Chapel Hill led a successful effort to raise private funds for the Memorial Hall project, topping their $5 million goal at just more than $5.1 million. George Beasley of Naples, Fla., and Carolina alumnus Don Curtis of Raleigh donated $500,000 each to that total, and the university has re-named the auditorium in their honor, the Beasley-Curtis Auditorium. Twenty-eight donors made a total of $2.3 million in major gifts to name other rooms or spaces. Other donors contributed a total of $1.8 million to name 360 seats. Seat naming opportunities still exist. For details, contact Sam Magill at (919) 962-9694 or

Gifts count toward the Carolina First Campaign goal of $1.8 billion. Carolina First is a comprehensive multi-year, private fund-raising campaign to support Carolina’s vision of becoming the nation’s leading public university.


Central heating and air conditioning with all new equipment, compared with radiator heating before.

Square footage increased from 24,000 to more than 44,640.

East and west additions allow for an expanded lobby, where a marble floor and grand new staircases on either end are being installed.

Men’s and women’s rest rooms on either side of the lobby; new and larger rest rooms on the second level, which previously housed the hall’s only rest rooms.

Accessibility for the disabled is vastly improved by wider aisles, first-floor bathrooms, an elevator and three new ramps, two of them at the front entrance.

Auditorium seating declined from about 1,500 to 1,434, but the configuration was improved and aisles widened for more legroom, better sight lines and greater accessibility.

New, more comfortable seats; an art gallery and a reception room.


Demolition and replacement of antiquated stage house at the rear of the building. The new, larger stage house contains new dressing rooms, a new basement and other additional storage space, new mechanical equipment and an elevator, making the hall much more inviting for performers.

New stage, twice the size of the old one, with wings and new technology to allow full productions of Broadway musicals, full symphonies and ballets.

New lights, sound equipment, orchestra shell and other improvements allowing custom tuning for each performance.


The first Memorial Hall was built in 1885 and demolished in 1930 because it was unsafe. Its cornerstone is at the easternmost column of Memorial’s portico.

The current building was completed in 1931, serving as an auditorium and a memorial to David Lowry Swain, president of the university from 1835-1868 and North Carolina Governor from 1831-1835, UNC alumni who died in the Civil War and outstanding Carolina alumni and North Carolinians. Tablets on the walls bear many of their names. After the renovation, the tablets will remain, in the auditorium and throughout the lobbies and new additions.

In 1944, the alumni association funded a tablet placed in Memorial that lists alumni who died in World War I. Improvements and repairs have included an interior refurbishment in the 1970s and exterior renovations in 1986.

- 30 -

Building contact: Lindsey Hopkins, (919) 843-2341

Historical context contact: Paul Kapp, campus historic preservation manager, (919) 843-3238,

Arts contact: Emil Kang, executive director for the arts, (919) 843-7776,

News Services contacts: L.J. Toler, (919) 962-8589; Lisa Katz, (919) 962-2093