June 6, 2014
Athletics Facility Enhancements
Raleigh, N.C. - There’s an old saying “out with the old and in with the new.” But that doesn’t apply to the $35 million renovation project of storied William Neal Reynolds Coliseum. Known as “The Old Barn,” Reynolds has been a fixture near the center of the NC State campus for more than half a century.
The first major renovation of the legendary building since 1949 will keep much of the original outside appearance. However, the new look on the inside will have breath-taking features sure to appeal to alums old and new, fans and potential recruits.
“Many more intimate components and details of this high-level concept will enable a high level of experience,” reflects Michael Lipitz, Senior Associate Athletics Director.
“Getting the building up to code and installing all of the amenities such as air-conditioning, concessions, elevators and restrooms will deliver a great experience.”
Lipitz adds that extra care was taken during the design process to ensure that the exterior of the historic building maintains its original look. “There will be a new roof and windows, but the outside will look like the original Reynolds. There are only so many iconic arenas like Reynolds. Too many are falling by the wayside.”
Six decades ago, Reynolds was the basketball playground of the South. The largest arena between Atlantic City and New Orleans, it was host to the nation's premier holiday basketball tournament -- the Dixie Classic.
In addition, Reynolds was also the site of the nation’s premier post-season event – the ACC Tournament – the forerunner of today’s collegiate post-season tournaments. The storied structure housed Ice Capades, concerts, the the circus and other premier entertainment.
Four sitting U.S. Presidents, Lyndon Johnson, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Barack Obama, have addressed crowds in Reynolds, as did John F. Kennedy when he was campaigning. Public address announcer C.A. Dillon, Jr. kept rabid crowds in a frenzy for an incredible 50 years. And after the 1983 Cardiac Pack won the NCAA title, over 20,000 Wolfpackers jammed the arena when coach Jim Valvano’s national champions returned from their Cinderella triumph.
Construction on the renovation will commence in March of 2015 and the building will be vacated until the completion date -- scheduled for August of 2016. The project is a combined effort of NC State Athletics and the NC State Student Aid Association – The Wolfpack Club.
Entering the original storied entrance will give Wolfpack fans the opportunity to view a completely re-modeled arena. Today's capacity is at just over 8,000, the renovated Reynolds will seat 6,000 spectators for convocations and festivals and 5,500 for basketball. The seating, locker rooms and training rooms surrounding Kay Yow Court will be on equal footing with the nation’s top collegiate women’s facilities.
In addition to the basketball court itself, other renovations include training rooms for wrestling, volleyball, gymnastics and rifle.
“If NC State is serious about competing in the Atlantic Coast Conference and having the best basketball, wrestling, volleyball and gymnastics in the country, it needs a place to train, compete and recruit,” Lipitz continued. “This puts us in the game. There won’t be a place anywhere in the country like this one – the arena and environment.”
Visitors entering the entrance on the north end of the building will soon realize that while the exterior of the building is historic, the interior is state-of-the-art. The NC State Walk of Fame and History promises to be an area that stirs the hearts of all the Wolfpack faithful.
“Once a person walks into the historic North lobby, they will see the pageantry and envision what has happened at NC State athletics over the decades,” Lipitz continues.
Displays will introduce NC State athletic greats of yesteryear – players, coaches and significant contributors.
Memorabilia and memories will be on display in both physical form through artifacts and multimedia presentations. Each display will be able to be adjusted as time marches on and additional accomplishments are achieved.
NC State’s unofficial athletics historian and author Tim Peeler has been an invaluable piece in the development of the Walk of Fame and History. His search and rescue mission of NC State memorabilia has been remarkable.
“Thank goodness for Tim helping put this together,” Lipitz adds. “This has been and is a work in progress – categorizing the items and features. But in the end, we know that there will be something that everybody is proud of.”
On the west side, adjacent to the Case Athletic Center parking lot, halls will be widened and there will be a spacious new media room. Upon entering the building on the south end, fans will view the basketball court via an unobstructed, 35-foot spacious corridor outlined by concession and merchandising stands and restrooms.
With a Talley Student Union and new student bookstore operating just next door, there will be increased foot traffic along Cates Avenue. In addition to new food court options for students, the area around the historic building will be busy with student-athletes headed for team training facilities, including a sports medicine venue.
In short, Reynolds will be a place for students, alums and recruits to relive State’s athletic past and enjoy live competition in a state-of-the-art facility that should produce extraordinary benefits for years to come.
Below is a detailed view of the scope of the renovation:
• Although still designated as one of nine “hallowed spaces” on the NC State campus, Reynolds Coliseum will be renovated to become state-of-the art facility.
• With renovation, Reynolds will serve as an on-campus gathering place for large-scale student events, (e.g. convocation, graduation, keynote speaker addresses, concerts and shows) benefiting one of the nation’s leading research universities. Festival seating will be approximately 6,000.
• A Walk of Fame and History of NC State athletics will be created, including the NC State Athletics Hall of Fame. The entire history of NC State athletics will be featured with prominent athletes, coaches and contributors on display.
• The reconfigured playing arena will serve as the home for Wolfpack women’s basketball, volleyball, wrestling and gymnastics and will seat approximately 5,500.
• The building will be air-conditioned.
• A new center-hung video board will highlight game action and secondary LED displays will enhance event and in-game experiences for participants and fans.
• A new roof will be installed as the project secures LEED Silver certification. All windows will be replaced to maintain their original appearance. New glass doors will flood light into the bowl arena.
• New concessions-merchandising points of sale, hospitality rooms, renovated restrooms and fan amenities will be included. East and West concourses will be expanded to 35 feet.
• Extensive new branding and graphics will flow through the Walk of Fame, area concourses and seating bowl.
• New offices for women’s basketball and volleyball will overlook the “Grand Hall” and Walk of Fame and History from the second floor.
• A new video control room will serve as a hub for television, video board and online productions for 23 varsity sports.
By George Cox, GoPack.com