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Life on Campus at NC State: December 2017

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Belltower Got Bells Y’all

I last posted one of these things not too long ago, but since then a pretty big development occurred on campus that just so happened to involve the Belltower. I felt like that warranted me posting another one of these so soon after the last.

Belltower? More like Belltower:

The Memorial Belltower was completed on campus at NC State in phases from 1919 through 1937 (with delays caused by the Great Depression & World War II), was formally dedicated in 1949 for 34 NCSU alumni that died during World War I, but was never officially completed.

The original plans for the Belltower actually involved bells of some sort. 54 of them. However, the second World War and the Great Depression had a hand in the delays seen to finish the stonework of the tower and played a role in killing the remaining funding for the project, resulting in the bells never being installed. As a work around, a speaker system was installed in place of the bells. This speaker system still sits inside the Belltower today. Well, probably not the same speaker system, but whatever.

The Belltower has stood largely untouched at the corner of campus facing Downtown Raleigh for the last 7 decades. This series of videos from the NCSU Alumni Association gives a pretty good depiction of the history of the Belltower and what the interior of the tower currently looks like today:

In 2008, a campaign was created to “Finish the Belltower”. As a result of this, the senior class of 2010 raised $56,000 to purchase the largest bell. The last time I saw this bell, it was sitting on the ground floor of the Erdahl-Cloyd Wing at DH Hill Library back in 2011 or 2012.

I hadn’t heard anything else about this project until a couple of weeks ago, when it was officially announced on November 21, 2017 that a gift from Bill and Frances Henry will allow the University to “Finish the Belltower”. This gift will go towards installing the remainder of the 54 some odd bells, the installation of something called a carillon (full disclosure I’m too lazy to look up exactly what this is and how it factors into this deal), and the interior stair case. Additionally, renovations and structural work will take place, and upgrades will be applied to the surrounding plaza. This plaza will also now be named “Henry Square”, which is coincidentally the same name as the last name of the couple who donated the money that allowed the Belltower to finally be completed. In total, these construction and renovation efforts are expected to take about 3 years. The timing of this is especially perfect because it will coincide with the first of the sure to be annual “Dave Doeren and Kevin Keatts Co-National Title Parade” down Hillsborough Street.

The University owes a pretty big thank you to Bill and Frances Henry. That’s a pretty incredible gift to give to NCSU that will allow the University to finally be able to finish the Belltower nearly a century after construction began.

Hillsborough Street Construction Phase II:

Not much in the way of updates here, but the long running Hillsborough Street construction is expected to be officially completed in the spring. This construction was undertaken to renovate the end of Hillsborough that runs down past Nelson Hall towards the edge of campus similar to the construction that occurred on the other side of the street that ran past DH Hill towards Downtown Raleigh in 2010.

Reynolds Coliseum National Title Banners:

For those who might have forgotten, NCSU won the national title in mens basketball in 1974, and again in 1983, without the aid of a shadow department of classes designed to keep athletes eligible and normal students a step closer to graduation. Subsequent to these national title wins, NCSU installed a banner for each championship within Reynolds Coliseum. However, when NCSU’s MBB program moved into the ESA / RBC Center / PNC Arena in 1999, these banners were put away in storage.

The banners sat in storage until 2007, when Dave Parker, the co-owner of Amedeo’s Italian Restaurant on Western Blvd, found the banners packed away. He entered into a sort of agreement with NCSU where he could hang these banners with some of the other items he found (such as old ACC Title and Dixie Classic banners) in Amedeo’s. However, he agreed to return them to NCSU at their request.

After NCSU’s massive renovation effort of Reynolds Coliseum was completed last year, NCSU asked that Amedeo’s return the banners so that they could go on display in the Walk of Fame & History within the newly renovated Reynolds. The banners will officially be unveiled in the northeast and northwest stairwells at the Heritage Game that takes place in Reynolds on December 9th against UMKC. I plan to be at that game, so I might have to stop by Amedeo’s beforehand to check out these remaining banners that Mr. Parker rescued from storage a decade ago.

Sushi Nine on Western Blvd:

Sushi Nine was a popular sushi restaurant that sat on Western Blvd that burned down during January 2016. However, the restaurant will soon be making it’s triumphant return to the exact same spot on Western. Sushi Nine will have a similar layout, but will apparently have a larger patio area when it re-opens later this year.

I personally never went to the original Sushi Nine. My taste in food (sober or otherwise) was more catered towards the nearby Bojangles, but I’ll definitely try to check out the new spot next time I’m back in Raleigh.