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Life on Campus at NC State: June 2024

Life on Campus at NC State: June 2024
Doak Field, the Brickyard, and other changes around campus.

I last posted one of these campus updates in January 2024. A few notable NC State-related things have happened since then. For instance, while I was still trying to process the fever dream that was March, the Pack9 punched their ticket to Omaha. I don't know what's been happening with State athletics this year, but I like it and hope that it continues forever.

Doak Field Renovation Updates:

When Doak Field renovations were first announced back in January 2022, most people I spoke with had two overarching feelings about the project: (1) thankful that we were finally doing something to Doak and (2) not totally in love with the project given that whenever it would be completed - Doak would still be lagging far behind other comparative programs (at least in terms of fan amenities).

For the overall timeline on these renovations:

  • November 2021: Plans to announce Doak renovations were scheduled for the Syracuse football game in November 2021, but were pushed back.
  • January 2022: Doak renovation announcement is made and a project update page is launched. Over the next year, social media content and regular updates were provided about fundraising progress and where construction stood.
  • February 2023: The athletics department/WPC provided a project update regarding construction & fundraising prior to the start of the 2023 season. The 2023 season began and many of the initial improvements (i.e., relocated bullpens, new scoreboard, etc.) were seen by fans for the first time. I thought this first round of renovations looked great.
  • February 2024: The 2024 season got underway, nothing had been done renovation-wise since the end of the 2023 season, and there had been no communication from the athletics department or WPC about the project's status since before the previous season began.
  • April 2024: The NC BOG approved an increase in the project's budget from $15M to $20M. Per Pack Pride, additional improvements were planned for Doak with the extra money that was added to the project.
  • June 2024: The last home game of the year was played during the Raleigh Regional. Days after the Pack9 advanced to a Super Regional, "Baseball Supporters" then received an email update from the WPC that didn't provide many details other than that utility work will be done after the 2024 season and that they hope to have this round of renovations completed prior to the 2026 season.

About 16 months went by from February 2023 to June 2024 between when the athletics department or the WPC provided official updates on this project. I totally understand that timelines move and things go wrong as financial conditions change and issues are encountered, but people have been waiting for Doak Field renovations for well over a decade. Asking fans for donations - and keeping a Doak Field renovation tax on season tickets - without even bothering to update your project portal (the fundraising tracker is still sitting at the same $14.4M from February 2023), or communicate project status to the fans, for over a year is really frustrating IMO.

I love where Doak is located on campus - even more so with FB and MBB games being held at off campus venues. I really enjoy being able to go to Sammy's, PR, Mitch's, Amedeo's, etc., walk through campus, and then watch the Pack9 play at Doak. But if the rumors are correct that Doak cannot support an overhang or additional seating over the concourse/press box area given where the locker rooms are located beneath the concourse, and that the project ran into delays between 2023 and 2024 due to issues with utility lines under the park, then I really wish we'd significantly change what these Doak plans look like - whether that means a total overhaul or a new park elsewhere.

Wolfe & Porter Now Open on Hillsborough St:

I've mentioned Wolfe & Porter's renovations in a couple of previous posts, but the space officially opened back in March, and it's already become one of my favorite bars in Raleigh. It's located just off Hillsborough St and is a short walk from PR towards downtown. There's outdoor seating with an ordering window that opens into the bar, an upper-level beer/cocktail bar with bar seating/tables/TVs, a lower-level higher-end cocktail bar dubbed "The Cellar", a back deck with tables, and a large back patio that regularly hosts food trucks.

This whole area is starting to stitch together with Wolfe and Porter's opening, Gussie's opening in January, the already existing Irregardless Cafe, an upcoming 7-story apartment building where Goodnight's Comedy Club was once located, and The Bend project from Carpenter Development. All of these projects run down W. Morgan St. toward Trophy Brewing.

Lobera Tacos & Tequila Plans to Open on Hillsborough St:

Gonza Tacos & Tequila had been located on the bottom floor of the Aloft on Hillsborough St since the hotel opened. I lived two separate stints at an apartment complex that was within walking distance from Gonza, and I really liked the food, drinks, and space. However, after Covid, the hours changed where Gonza wasn't open regular hours or 7 days a week. In light of that, it felt inevitable that this location would close or transition owners at some point.

Then, last month, Gonza announced it was closing this location. I noticed the below sign change when I was walking down Hillsborough St. during the recent Raleigh baseball regional, but it looks like someone else has already moved in and will be opening Lobera Tacos & Tequila. Unless they plan to make any big changes to the interior, I feel like after a couple of sign changeovers, they'd be able to open this concept pretty quickly.

PNC Arena Renovation Plans Move Forward:

Last August, I posted a lengthy write-up about what all of the planned PNC Arena and surrounding area development plans would entail. There hasn't been much publicly-facing news since then, but I've included a few items of note below. It doesn't sound many changes will occur before the 2024 FB season or 2024-2025 MBB season, but based on some of the changes that the project has already seen, I wouldn't be shocked to see some delays to the previously announced timeline.

Student Apartment Complex to be Developed on Varsity Drive:

Trinitas Ventures of Indiana plans to construct a new student apartment complex on Varsity Drive that will have 324 units and house up to 811 residents. Their plan is to begin construction in May 2025 and be open by July 2027. This project will be closer to the end of Varsity that runs into Avent Ferry near Centennial Campus - and will also be close to a different student housing project planned by The Preiss Company, "Collegeview Apartments".

With the growth of this area situated between main campus & Centennial, and all of the student housing that is still being built along Hillsborough St, the entire area around NCSU should continue to grow at a pretty good clip throughout the 2020's.

Brickyard Makeover:

In a few previous posts, I've included some details about the new Integrated Sciences Building that's currently being constructed on the Brickyard in the middle of where Harrelson Hall once stood. The building recently topped out and this live cam shows the ongoing construction on the ISB.

As this construction continues, NCSU also decided it would make sense to update the Brickyard. This project involves replacing the original bricks installed in the Brickyard with a new permeable brick surface to help address stormwater management issues. The project will also regrade certain sections to make the Brickyard ADA-compliant.

NCSU Lands "Bezos Earth Fund Grant":

The Bezos Earth Fund awarded NCSU $30M over 5 years to open a "Center for Sustainable Protein". This center will act as a biomanufacturing hub for dietary proteins and will develop new types of proteins that are "environmentally friendly, healthy, tasty, and affordable".

Maybe this means that Fountain Dining Hall will no longer serve corn nuggets to students sometime around 2030.


"The Assembly" Profiles NCSU Chancellor Randy Woodson

Witherspoon Student Center Renovations

NC State Launches the "Peter A. Pappas Real Estate Development Program"

"The Rabbit Hole" Bar Coming to Hillsborough St

Former Car Repair Shop on Hillsborough to be Redeveloped

CaliBurger now Open in Former Hillsborough St Arby's

NCSU Gaming & ESports Lab Opens on Centennial Campus

Alpaca Chicken Open on Hillsborough in Old IHOP

Go Pack.