NC State and the athletics department will join together to renovate and revitalize Reynolds Coliseum, the iconic multipurpose facility in the heart of the main campus.
In addition to changing in the interior of “The House That Case Built” to create a permanent 5,500-seat home for women’s basketball, volleyball, gymnastics and wrestling in the south end of the building, the front third of the building will be set aside for the newly created NC State Athletic Hall of Fame. Seating for concerts will be 6,000.
The $35 million project is funded by $15 million from the university and $20 to be raised by the NC State Student Aid Association (The Wolfpack Club).
Construction on Reynolds began in 1940, but was delayed for seven years during World War II. Indiana high school coaching legend Everett Case’s early success and the game’s popularity among war veterans and their wives forced the school to restart the construction. Case made some significant changes, stretching the building’s original design to push capacity to 12,400 spectators. The doors opened in 1949 and for 50 years it was the home of men’s basketball, as well as serving as a gathering place for significant campus events, ice shows and the circus.
John F. Kennedy campaigned there. Lyndon Johnson, who gave a re-election speech there just after the passage of the Civil Rights Act, became the first sitting president to visit NC State’s campus. Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama all gave major speeches there.
It has also been the site of classical, pop and rock concerts. Among the artists who played there: Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and the Vienna Boys Choir, just to name a few.
A Cool Renovation
The renovation will not only benefit athletics, still the primary tenant, but will also provide an improved home for NC State’s ROTC program, which has been a joint tenant from the beginning, and the larger campus community.
As part of the overall modernization, the building will be fully air-conditioned for the first time since it opened.
“This facility is not only an asset for athletics, but also for the greater campus community,” says university architect Lisa Johnson. “It’s our largest seat-capacity venue near the academic core and once the building is modernized and air-conditioned, it will be in even greater demand for athletic and non-athletic events.”
By then, the Talley Student Union renovation will be complete, reaffirming that area as the epicenter of student life on campus.
Athletics director Debbie Yow began the department’s hall of fame in 2012 and two 10-member classes have been enshrined. They will be recognized in a front lobby display, along with significant individual and team achievements through the years.
“Reynolds will be a great location to showcase the Athletics Hall of Fame,” Johnson says. “It’s already designated as one of the campus’ seven Hallowed Places. The campus has not been able to use the building to its full potential due to the lack of air-conditioning and a very noisy ventilation system.”
Instead demolishing the building or letting it stay stagnant, Johnson believes it will be a university reclamation project on the scale of what has been done recently at Thompson Hall, the 1911 Building, Leazar Hall, the Park Shops and David Clark Labs.
“Reynolds is an iconic building on our campus,” Yow says. “It absolutely needs to be renovated so that we can use it well into the next generation of campus life.”
The second-floor concourses will be revamped and the side lobbies will be enlarged. The women’s basketball and volleyball offices will be moved to the second floor and the three ROTC programs will be relocated within the building.
The Athletics Walk of Fame will honor all 23 current varsity sports, former varsity sports, the non-athletic events hosted in Reynolds and a wide array of accomplished individuals and teams who are the foundation of NC State’s athletic heritage.
“It gives us the opportunity finally to have one place to display publicly all of our memorabilia, to talk about all of our successes,” Yow says. “There won’t be anything like this walk of fame and history in the country. I say that with assurance because of the shape of Reynolds and our ability to use our first third of the building and the concourse. It is going to be special in that regard and people are going to be wowed by the presentation and they are going to feel an incredible sense of pride.
“The notion that somehow Reynolds is going to be diminished is unfortunate. Everything of merit that has ever happened in Reynolds will be honored.”
The athletics department is encouraging alumni, fans, faculty and staff to contribute significant memorabilia to the project. Those items are being gathered and stored now by project manager Doug Strom, the assistant athletics director for administration who oversees the day-to-day operations of Reynolds.
All items will become property of NC State athletics and will be considered for permanent or temporary display. All donors will be credited for their contribution. For more information, contact Strom at 515-2122.