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Life on Campus at NC State: April 2018

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Death to Traffic Lights

It’s been a couple of months since I last posted one of these campus updates, but a few pretty notable projects have been announced on and around campus recently.

Hillsborough Street Construction:

The largest of these changes going on around NCSU has been the long-running Hillsborough Street Construction. The original street construction / revitalization concluded back in 2010 on the side of the street closest to Downtown Raleigh. However, the current construction has been going on for a couple of years now on the other side of the street and finally seems to be nearing an end.

As detailed in the link above from the News & Observer, three additional roundabouts have been added at Brooks Avenue, Dixie Trail / Friendly Drive and Shepherd Street / Rosemary Street. These roundabouts have taken the place of street lights along this stretch of Hillsborough in an effort to help improve traffic flow and congestion. I was back in Raleigh a few weeks ago and the biggest change I noticed was the removal of the Traffic Light where Dan Allen runs into Hillsborough St. The project is expected to finish in May and will include new sidewalks, the power & utility lines now being buried underneath these new sidewalks, newly added bike lanes, and brick medians.

Maiden Lane / Hillstone Cameron Village:

Maiden Lane is the street across from the Belltower that runs up beside the Aloft Hotel on Hillsborough. The houses up Maiden Lane were bought by a real estate developer over the last few years, and were finally demolished over the last couple of months to make way for a new apartment complex, Hillstone Cameron Village. I lived at the end of Maiden Lane during my junior year at NCSU, so it is definitely a little weird to drive up Maiden now and to see those houses gone, but the vast majority of those houses were well beyond repair. That entire section of Hillborough is very soon going to be almost unrecognizable to anyone who hasn’t visited Raleigh in 5 or 6 years. It will be interesting to see how much this development helps to better connect Cameron Village and Hillsborough Street.

Velvet Cloak Inn / Theory Raleigh:

If you’ve read any of the previous posts I’ve made about changes going on around NCSU, you’ve seen there’s been a big boom in student housing options within walking distance of campus. The newest of these student housing projects is Theory Raleigh, which is set to open in August 2018. Theory Raleigh is located in the area where The Velvet Cloak Inn once stood. It’s crazy to think that The Velvet Cloak Inn was once one of the premier places to stay in Raleigh, as during my years at State it had always looked at least a decade past what should’ve been its expiration date. I always felt like it was a matter of time before The Velvet Cloak Inn was razed, but it’s definitely different to see the large scale of the Theory Raleigh building in comparison to what The Velvet Cloak looked like standing in the same spot not too long ago.

Carmichael Gymnasium Renovations:

I’ve mentioned these renovations to Carmichael before, but The Technician recently published an article with some additional details. The project is pretty expansive, will work to totally renovate and expand upon the administrative building at Carmichael that sits directly on Cates Avenue in front of the Carmichael Recreation Center, and will connect the new building, the original gymnasium (which has also undergone some pretty extensive renovations itself in recent years), and the recreation center that was built in 2007. The project is set to begin on May 15th, 2018 and will be completed in 2020.

The Engineering Oval on Centennial Campus:

It was announced a couple of years ago that construction would soon begin on the final engineering building on Centennial Campus that would close the Engineering Oval. On April 20th, 2018, NCSU broke ground on the $150 million, 250,000 square foot building. The building will officially be named Fitts-Woolard Hall, as NCSU alumni, Edward P. Fitts Jr. and Edgar S. Woolard Jr. gifted the University $25 million. This is the largest gift provided to NCSU for a campus building naming in the University’s history. The building will be constructed directly next to the Hunt Library.

RIP Trinity & TX Lots:

There’s already been one BtP post on this news, but I wanted to include at least a mention of this news within this post.

The privately owned Trinity and TX parking lots near the Carter-Finley complex have been areas that NCSU has rented from the owner of these lots for home Wolfpack football games at Carter-Finley for years now. After some rumblings about this over the last few years, it was officially announced last week that these lots have been sold to a real estate development firm out of Atlanta to construct and develop some sort of housing. A lot of people have been hoping that some of the area near PNC & Carter-Finley would be developed to provide more bar & restaurant options for pre-game and post-game purposes, but one thing I didn’t really anticipate seeing being developed on these lots was housing.

This will cost NCSU approximately 1,550 tailgate spots in these two lots, to go along with the 50 spaces in the Southeast Parking Lot that will be lost for at least a portion of the 2018 season due to the NC Department of Transportation’s construction of a pedestrian tunnel beneath Trinity Road. Representatives from the University have said that NCSU will protect the lots that they own in the area, and will work to find replacement lots to make up for the lost spaces as well.

I’ve parked in the TX Lot for the last 4 years since I graduated from NCSU. Losing these lots is a lot more than just losing parking spaces, as noted in this piece by Joe Giglio of the News & Observer. These weren’t paved lots with limited space and no shade. These were two pretty massive grass lots that did not have assigned spots, meaning that as long as you had a parking pass for the lot, you had more than enough room to set up tents / tables / speakers / games / etc. Additionally, each lot had a decent amount of tree coverage around their borders, which made those afternoon tailgates early in the season much more enjoyable. These two lots helped to make NCSU tailgating what it was. There’s a reason why I, and many other people, opted to park in lots that were about as far a walk from Carter-Finley as you could get. I’m not sure if the University, Athletics Department, or Wolfpack Club own some additional land in the area that can be turned into lots similar to what the TX and Trinity Lots were, but I’m just hoping that the replacement lots aren’t simply going to be additional paved spaces rented from office buildings or Cardinal Gibbons.

RIP TX & Trinity Lots, 0000 - 2018.

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Lastly, I just wanted to mention some items that are not specific changes going on around campus, but are a couple of things I’ve seen mentions of online that are NCSU related.

Belltower WW1 Event:

An event has been announced at the Belltower to take place on May 1st to commemorate the end of WWI.

Rapsody on Netflix’s Rapture:

NCSU alumnus, Marlana Evans (Rapsody), was part of Netflix’s recently released “Rapture” documentary series. The documentary details Rapsody’s career, her beginnings at NCSU, and features some shots of campus - most notably the Free Expression Tunnel.

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That’s all I’ve got for April. If there’s anything that I missed NCSU-related, please include down in the comments below.