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Life on Campus at NC State: October 2020

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NC State is good at football.

North Carolina State University Campus

Helloooooo folks.

I last put together one of these Life on Campus posts back in June. Since then, NC State has turned out to be good at football and that doesn’t look like it’s going to change! By the way, on a totally and completely unrelated note - does anyone have an extra fibula laying around?

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Well in terms of campus developments in 2020, I was expecting to see a lot more in the way of business closures around NC State, but luckily the area directly around campus hasn’t yet been hit too hard in terms of the strict closing of retail or restaurant space - although I’m sure that the majority of businesses in the area are still hurting from a financial perspective. If you’re fortunate enough to have discretionary income this year, try to buy local early and often to help support the businesses local to Raleigh.

Players Retreat to Begin Takeout:

I moved back to Raleigh from the DC area at the beginning of 2020. One of the things I was most looking forward to was that I was going to be living just a short walk away from Players Retreat. Well, I made it to PR once this year before the entire world seemingly started burning and coming apart at its seams. Luckily I at least got to see State lose to a bad Boston College basketball team during my one 2020 visit.

At least now it sounds like a bit of Raleigh normalcy will soon return to a degree as Players Retreat is set to begin offering takeout options after having been closed since back when this entire COVID mess began. Earlier this year, the owners at PR stated that it would take a vaccine for them to feel comfortable reopening their doors. However they recently announced on their social media outlets that they would soon begin offering takeout options.

I’d also like to use this opportunity to officially throw my hat in the ring should PR require someone to taste test their new takeout menu. I’ll distance myself from the staff, wear a mask even while eating and drinking (if there’s a will, there’s a way), and will gladly accept payment in the form of Old Tuffy pitchers.

Belltower Construction Continues:

I’ve referenced these construction efforts in previous posts, but the Belltower is nearing the end of a project aimed at restoring and renovating the hallowed campus landmark that sits at the edge of campus (and one that will hopefully be lit up red on Saturday after a victory over a football program that was at the heart of a two-decade academic fraud scandal at its respective university).

The page I’ve linked above shows pictures of the bells that were installed in the tower in June, allows you to view the current progress of the efforts, and gives you information about the Belltower’s history. The work is currently scheduled to be completed by the end of 2020, with a rededication event planned for spring 2021 what I’m assuming will now be some sort of virtual event planned for who knows when.

DH Hill Renovation Completed:

This is another large scale renovation effort that NCSU began work on during prior years that I’ve mentioned in previous editions of this Life on Campus series. The project was primarily performed on the side of the library that faces the Brickyard and was used to expand the library’s atrium, construct a master staircase, include space for the “Academic Success Center” that houses NCSU’s centralized tutoring program office, and add additional technology throughout the library. As a byproduct of the construction on the Brickyard entrance, NCSU also reopened the Hillsborough Street entrance to the library. With construction now finished, both entrances to DH Hill are now open for the first time in decades.

However, with the total dumpster fire that this year has been, there aren’t very many students on campus to enjoy the renovations. And if you’re currently working from home and looking for somewhere quiet so that you can be productive during the day - well you’re out of luck too as DH Hill is currently only open to students as a means to keep the number of people inside the library down during this whole pandemic thing. What a year!

Hillsborough Street Hotel Planned:

This has been in the works for a while, but the result of the project has recently shifted. I first referenced this back in June 2018, when the project centered around a condo development called “The View at Pullen Circle”. At some point along the way those plans have changed and a hotel is now slated to be built in the space, provided that the developer’s rezoning request is approved by the City of Raleigh.

The hotel is set to be constructed in the small parking lot directly behind Players Retreat and beside Blend Raleigh / David’s Dumpling & Noodle Bar. Therefore the hotel will look directly out onto the Belltower and will be walking distance from Downtown Raleigh, Cameron Village, and NCSU. Maybe by the time that construction is completed in a couple of years, people will once again be able to travel to Raleigh for NC State sporting events.

“LakeShore Raleigh” Condos on Centennial Campus:

Centennial Campus has been an area that has seen a good deal of development in recent years and it appears that the next project to begin construction on the campus will be the “LakeShore Raleigh” condos. The complex is set to include 44 units that sit on the shore of Lake Raleigh, hence the development’s imaginative name.

Centennial Campus is currently home to various NCSU Engineering buildings, the NCSU Wilson College of Textiles, Hunt Library, the Lonnie Poole Golf Course & Clubhouse, the Stateview Marriott Hotel, various businesses termed as “Centennial Campus Partners”, and numerous student / young professional apartments.

Gym Tacos on Hillsborough Street:

Gym Tacos currently operates a food truck that serves the greater Raleigh area. They will soon be opening their first brick and mortar location at 3701 Hillsborough Street in a space that has recently been the home to Hieu Bowl Vietnamese Kitchen, and before that to a little known burger joint that was affectionately referred to by locals as “Burger King”.

Wing It On:

A new wing spot, Wing It On, is coming to Hillsborough Street. Their website shows a total of six locations, one of which is now located in Raleigh. Based on a Google Earth search, this location should be somewhere around the corner from the building that the Hillsborough Street Target is in.

Meat and Bite:

I don’t know anything about this place, but saw that its sign was now up on Hillsborough Street down across from Zaxby’s. The Yelp page for Meat and Bite lists it as an Asian Fusion and Burger (?) combo spot so I guess that’s a thing.

Sushi Mon Closes:

I never visited Sushi Mon, but I passed it more than a few times on walks from East Village (RIP Sweet Prince) to Doak Field before State Baseball games. It was located beneath the Willow Creek 105 Friendly Apartments that sits between the Zaxby’s & Stanhope Apartments, and in front of UT & Valentine Commons. Triangle Food Blog reported at the link above that the space will be converted to an Indian restaurant.

The Overlook at Cameron Village:

I tend to focus these Life on Campus posts toward developments on campus at NCSU, on Hillsborough Street, and on Western Boulevard, but I saw this recent news about Carmon Village and wanted to include it here. There have been a lot of efforts in recent years to better connect Hillsborough Street and Cameron Village. And with all of the change that has come to Glenwood South and throughout Downtown Raleigh, both Hillsborough Street and Cameron Village have effectively fallen by the wayside in terms of being considered “going out” spots late night in Raleigh. Both Hillsborough and Cameron Village are now looked at more as retail or lunch/dinner spots as opposed to anything else.

However, this new Overlook project appears to be aiming at adding a bit more night life into the Cameron Village area. ITB Insider had the first story about the project, which will include 5,158 square feet of retail space split between at least two retail tenants, as well as an upper level “overlook” area comprised of 4,342 square feet of patio space. The overlook patio space will either include one or two full-service restaurant / bar type offerings. The entire project will redevelop the older Bryan Building that’s located at the top of the row of retail shops directly next to Café Carolina.

Cameron Village has seen its fair share of new real estate developments in recent years and that doesn’t appear to be slowing. Between all of the new apartments and retail/restaurant offerings, there was also news a couple of years back that there are plans to reopen a portion of the old underground “Village Subway” in Cameron Village as a jazz club.

State College Smokestack:

For anyone that has attended NC State, or walked around the campus, you’ve seen the old brick smokestack with “STATE COLLEGE” painted down the front in white. This campus landmark isn’t going anywhere, but if you’re weird like me and curious as to the history / current use of the smokestack, The Technician published a pretty interesting piece about it back in September that I’ve linked above.

Education Things and Stuff:

Money Magazine Ranks NCSU Top Public University in NC

The annual Money Magazine university value rankings were released back in August. The publication placed NC State atop the list of public universities in North Carolina based on the value provided to its students as determined by criteria such educational quality, socio-economic mobility, alumni success, etc. NC State ultimately ranked 35th overall on this year’s list.

NCSU Climbs in US News & World Report Rankings

In a different set of annual rankings, this time published by the US News and World Report, NC State ranked 80th overall among all US universities and 32nd among US public universities. NC State has increased a total of 9 spots overall in these rankings since 2016.

In reality, these rankings are based on subjective metrics that aggregate to comprise a university’s overall total score. The rankings from one publication to the next tend to fluctuate pretty wildly, but it is undeniable that prospective college students use these as a basis for making their college decisions. Since coming onboard at NC State in April 2010, Randy Woodson and his team have done a pretty admirable job of recognizing the importance of these rankings (regardless of their actual merit or inherent flaws) and State has risen in the rankings accordingly.

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That’s all I’ve got this time around.

Also, just because who knows what the rest of this year has in store for us or what will happen before the next time I post one of these, I’d like to formally state again that NC State is good at football and ranked in the Top 25. Damn fibulas.