The Walker Auditorium Renovation

Connecting Community and Enriching Campus Life

Walker Auditorium, originally built in 1967 with a gift from Shaw Walker ’33, P’81,’83,’86,’87, was constructed primarily as an auditorium that would also serve as a venue for theater, dance, and musical productions. Over the years, Walker has proven to be a touchstone of community life. A place where the community gathers for All-School meetings, Fun Fridays, and to hear the head of school announce a holiday, in addition to film screenings and festivals, thought-provoking lectures and presentations, and student theatrical and dance performances. 

At present, the auditorium seating plan prevents many from fully appreciating the action on stage. Inadequate acoustics and dated lighting systems curb the experience for speakers and performers as well as those in the audience. Furthermore, theater technology has evolved dramatically over the years, with new design theory and a greater emphasis on creating an immersive audience experience. The School has sought creative solutions to extend its resources in spite of structural and technical limitations, but challenges persist. 

By renovating Walker Auditorium, Hotchkiss can help students realize their potential in a state-of-the-art space that plays a vital role in community life. It is the centerpiece of the Hotchkiss experience for all students — a place for lively All-School gatherings as well as meaningful educational and inspiring performance events.

Hotchkiss Walker Auditorium Renovation


An Immersive Learning Experience

Our goal is to create an intimate, dynamic space that enhances school events and brings performances to life.

Renovations include:

  • Extending the stage apron into the audience seating, bringing viewers closer — literally and figuratively — to speakers and performers
  • Improving the audiovisual and lighting systems and updating technology in the control and projection rooms to enable a higher production quality
  • Building stage wings into the audience to enhance the connection between performers and spectators
  • Modifying seating to allow a variety of stage configurations  
  • Adding new technical catwalks, infrastructure, and acoustic elements at the perimeter of the auditorium 
  • Bringing additional visible catwalks and other machinery into the audience to create a more dynamic spectator experience 
  • Upgrading and adding new finishes to the green room, dressing rooms, and shop to enhance productivity and comfort in these critical backstage areas
  • Installing variable lighting modes to define a 399-seat zone
  • Enhancing the sound booth with new technology
  • Minimizing external sound and light interference by adding sound and light blocks at the main entrance
Hotchkiss Walker Auditorium Renovation


An Opportunity to Play a Role

Please join us in making the renovation of Walker Auditorium possible. Your support is a direct investment in the Hotchkiss student experience, and with your help, we can redesign Walker into a fresh, innovative, contemporary space for the entire School community.

Naming Opportunities

Named spaces are available at various levels of leadership giving, as noted below:

Stage already subscribed ($500,000)
Green Room already subscribed ($125,000)
Dressing Rooms (2) *one is already subscribed $100,000
Sound Booth $100,000
Catwalk $100,000
Lighting Array $100,000
Sound System $100,000


Download Project Brochure

For further information, please contact Johanna Haan, director of parent programs, at (860) 435-2556.