Clowes to get $2M upgrade for 50th anniversary

Clowes Memorial Hall at Butler University will get a $2 million makeover in time for its 50th anniversary next year.

The $2 million comes from the Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation and will pay to replace 2,200 seats and carpet, Butler announced Tuesday. Renovations will also include acoustical enhancements, roof repairs and wall repairs such as painting, plastering and wood restoration.

The renovation will be the hall's first since opening Oct. 18, 1963. The work will be done during the summer of 2013. Clowes typically schedules few shows in the summer months, and none will be on the calendar next year.

"We're grateful to the Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation for helping keep this spectacular theater operating at full capacity," Executive Director Elise Kushigan said.

Clowes, which was an early home for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra,  was built in memory of George Henry Alexander Clowes, former research director for Eli Lilly and Co. An arts enthusiast, Clowes conceived of the idea of a multi-purpose hall to serve the community. Allen Whitehill Clowes was George's son and a Butler trustee, but his charitable foundation has no tie to Butler.

The Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation granted the hall $500,000 in 2009 to complete a mechanical engineering infrastructure study that became part of a 10-year plan for the continued restoration and renovation needs of the building.

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