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Life on Campus at NC State: August 2018

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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

At the time of writing this, it’s the middle of August 2018 and the 2018-2019 NCSU academic & athletic year is officially underway. I last posted one of these campus updates in June 2018, but there’s been a lot of progress made to some of the previously mentioned projects over the summer on and around campus at NC State.

The Good:

RIP Maiden Lane:

I lived at the end of Maiden Lane in a fraternity house during my Junior Year at NCSU. Although I only lived there for one year, during my other years at NCSU I spent a lot of time at that same house. It wasn’t without mixed emotions when I saw that the houses that lined Maiden Lane for decades had finally been razed. The NCSU Alumni Association put together a quick write-up that I’ve linked above and also posted a good number of pictures of the houses prior to the demolishing on their Facebook page.

I’m going to miss seeing the houses on that street. The Hillsborough Street area would likely be virtually unrecognizable to anyone who hasn’t visited campus in the last 8 - 10 years. However, the vast majority of the changes made to the area have been very positive as a lot of the buildings up and down the corridor next to NCSU had fallen into disrepair or were severely outdated. The houses along Maiden Lane were not much of an exception.

In the news I’ve seen about the property, apartments will be constructed in a continued effort to better connect Cameron Village and Hillsborough Street. I’m looking forward to seeing what these apartments end up looking like as these are the first apartments in that general area that will essentially stretch from Hillsborough Street back towards Oberlin Road and into Cameron Village.

Carmichael Gym Renovations:

I’ve included these renovations in a few posts now, but the razing of one of the Carmichael buildings took place over the summer, and the actual construction phase of the project is now officially underway. The link above has been updated with new webcams that show the progress of the project’s construction from Cates Avenue and also from Reynolds Coliseum. The project has an estimated completion date of Fall 2020.

Pullen Road Extension:

This project was officially announced back in 2016 in a joint effort between NCSU, the City of Raleigh, and the Catholic Diocese of Raleigh. The overall scope of the project related to NCSU is that this road extension will connect NCSU’s main campus and Centennial Campus. As noted in the story above, both Pullen Road and Bilyeu Street are included in the project, and a new roundabout will be added between Western Boulevard and Centennial Parkway.

Construction began back in December 2017 and the project has a late Fall 2018 estimated completion date.

Hillsborough Street Construction:

The renovations to Hillsborough Street in the last decade have been extensive. These construction efforts have also had a very long timetable that has seemed to be constantly evolving with numerous delays. The side of the street that stretches toward Downtown Raleigh was renovated back in the 2009 - 2010 time frame, and the opposite side of the street has been under construction for a couple of years now.

This project has added additional roundabouts (sound familiar?) down Hillsborough towards Gorman Street, upgraded the sidewalks, and buried the power lines that once lined that section of the street. After various changes to the schedule, this project has now been completed, and a ribbon cutting ceremony will take place at the new Brooks Avenue roundabout during NCSU’s annual Packapalooza on Saturday, August 25th.

Taco Bell Cantina:

Cheesy Gordita Crunch. Tequila. Grilled Stuft Burrito. Frose. Doritos Locos Taco. Vodka.

Welcome to the future friends. Taco Bell Cantina is up and running next door to campus on Hillsborough Street and will be slinging wine & liquor slushies and draft beer with every order of Taco Bell until the end of time. The Cantina is located underneath the Broadloom Apartments across from Tompkins Hall, will seat 30 in the main dining area, and has a small outdoor area as well. “Live Más” indeed.

NC State Brewing:

I first heard about the NCSU Brewing Lab a couple of years ago. The Lab is located in the basement of Schaub Hall on NCSU’s main campus and is run by NCSU bio-processing professor, John Sheppard.

In the time since it began its operations, the Lab’s efforts have increased substantially and now provides their beer for various University sponsored events, and has their product for sale at Lonnie Poole Golf Course and the Stateview Hotel, both located on Centennial Campus. I’m hoping we’ll see the Lab continue to grow its distribution efforts and that it will eventually be found in more locations across Raleigh. I’m also hoping to see this beer for sale at Doak Field and Carter-Finley Stadium in the near future (fingers crossed).

NC State is “Top Value” in NC:

For the second straight year, Money Magazine has named NCSU as the top value school in North Carolina. NCSU came in at #31 on the overall rankings. You can find the complete listing here.

This is what I wrote the last time one of these rankings had NCSU ranked favorably and still feel like a lot of this still holds true: “...these types of rankings are highly subjective, and factor in numerous totally garbage and irrelevant elements that help to comprise a university’s overall composite ranking......I look at these rankings a lot like pre-season sports polls. They hold some value in what might come in the future, but overall they’re largely hollow and meaningless if you dig deep enough into the metrics behind them. However, it is undeniable that these rankings help to influence prospective students and their parents. From that perspective, a university needs to do what it can in order to rise in these rankings and/or to maintain a lofty spot in the rankings.”

What the Woodson administration has been able to do with the University’s fundraising efforts and improved perception of the University has been nothing short of excellent.

The Bad:

Trinity Road Tunnel:

The NC Department of Transportation announced a few months back that there would be a tunnel underneath Trinity Road connecting the parking lots running alongside the NC State Fair Grounds to the lots next to Carter-Finley. Trinity Road has therefore been closed over the summer as construction began on this project. The initially planned completion date for the tunnel was for the start of the 2018 football season with the James Madison game on September 1st. It was announced recently that the project has been delayed with the new estimated completion date for the West Virginia game on September 15th. Surely this will cause no issues for people navigating to and from Carter-Finley over those first few weeks of the season.

The Ugly:

East Village Apartments:

ITB Insider posted one of their development stories a couple of weeks back that included the news that site review plans were submitted for a 3-story apartment building to be constructed on the current East Village location, as well as the sites for some of the surrounding businesses.

East Village followed up this news to clarify that a developer is looking at the property, but nothing is final yet. However, if the project moves ahead, East Village will have the option to re-open in the first floor of the new apartment building.

This news was not something I was expecting to see. Mitch’s, Players’ Retreat, and East Village are the 3 main bars on Hillsborough Street next to NCSU. Although the former H-Street / La Stella spot seems ideal for a Sammy’s style sports bar, there has not been a decent mainstay bar addition to Hillsborough Street in a very long time. I spent a lot of nights watching State Basketball & Football games at EV, pre-gaming for State Baseball games, and then subsequently doing my best to soon forget the majority of those games. The different lots around East Village don’t offer much, so the only real casualty to this development would be East Village. However, losing East Village would be a very negative development for Hillsborough Street, and for NCSU’s students & alumni.

I’ve been a big fan of the additional apartments that have been added to Hillsborough Street in the last ~5 years. When I graduated from NCSU, the non-dorm housing options that were a short walk to campus were far and few between. However, at some point there needs to be more successful bars and restaurants added to the street to sustain the additional apartments and subsequent foot traffic that have been added to the area.

TX and Trinity Tailgate Lots:

Landmark Properties have taken my favorite tailgate lots and I will never forgive them. I am now warring with any and all landmarks and all different types of properties.

Although NCSU attempted to bid for and buy the lots, the two lots eventually sold for $12.39 million. Ground broke last week on the new “cottage-style” apartments, “The Station”. Landmark Properties is developing this apartment community, as well as an additional apartment community at the site formerly occupied by the North Carolina Equipment Company on Hillsborough Street next to campus. Very much looking forward to the challenges that “The Station’s” construction, and the continued Trinity Road Tunnel construction, will bring this fall as we all navigate to and from football games.

Since I graduated from NCSU in 2013, I’ve tailgated in the TX Lot. I also had a lot of friends who tailgated in the Trinity Lot. I’m really going to miss those two lots and what they provided with the additional space, the shade along the tree line, and the fact that the lots were grassy and not paved. Putting apartments in those lots is one thing, but the biggest issue I have with PNC and Carter-Finley is that there are not many retail, bar, or restaurant options anywhere in the surrounding area. If apartments are going to be added there, then at the very least I’d like there to be some ground level retail space. However, that is not going to be the case as these apartments are going to be “cottage-style” similar to “The Republic” student-housing property near the WakeMed Soccer Park.

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That’s all I have for August. Go State. Go Tailgating. Beat JMU.